Head coach of Nigeria's Falconets, Peter Dedevbo, has attributed his team's elimination from the ongoing FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup to their 6-0 defeat against Japan in their first game.
The Falconets finished on six points, same as Japan and Spain but bowed out of the tournament on inferior goals difference.
After the heavy defeat to Japan, the Falconets beat Canada 3-1 before securing a hard-fought 2-1 win against Spain.
Commenting on his team's elimination, Dedevbo told FIFA.com they did everything possible to improve their goals deficit from the first game but it wasn't possible.
"In the first match against Japan, we lost 6-0. That defeat is very painful because it cost us qualification to the next round," Dedevbo lamented.
"When you lose the first match in a competition, you have to work very hard to get back in the saddle. You need to win, and that's what we did.
"After the first game, we told the players they absolutely had to win the next two matches, and that message went over well. We tried to score as many goals as possible, but it wasn't enough to keep us in the tournament."
On lessons learnt by his players, Dedevbo said: "They know now that the first match is the most important in the whole tournament because it sets the tone for the rest. When you lose the first game, it's difficult to get back in the running."
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