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Asisat Oshoala: Meet the Nigeria star behind the Brandi Chastain celly

Asisat Oshoala scored in the 73rd minute of Nigeria's upset of Australia. (Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Asisat Oshoala made global headlines in Nigeria’s 3-2 upset win over Australia in the group stage of the World Cup on Thursday.

Oshoala came off the bench to score the decisive goal in the victory for Nigeria in the 72nd minute. She then channeled U.S. women’s national team legend Brandi Chastain’s iconic 1999 celebration by tearing off her jersey.

Who is Oshoala? Just Women’s Sports has the rundown.

Age: 28
Position: Forward
Nigeria debut: June 8, 2015
Total caps: 24

Who is Oshoala?

Oshoala is one of the most celebrated African players of all time. The 28-year-old forward for Nigeria and Barcelona was born in Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria. Her parents did not approve of her playing soccer, and she had to sneak away when she played. She dropped out of high school at 15 to pursue the game.

She turned into one of her nation’s biggest stars and, with her goal on Thursday, became the first African player to score in three Women’s World Cups. She has won Africa’s Women’s Footballer of the Year a record five times.

“I want to make sure I fight for my teammates, fight for this badge. This is the best county in the world,” Oshoala said after the Australia win.

Where does she play professionally?

Oshoala joined Barcelona on loan in 2019, and then transferred to the team after the season. She has scored 95 goals for the club and helped lead the team to the 2019-20 Copa de la Reina and 2019-20 Supercopa de España Femenina championships.

Before that, Oshoala played for Chinese club Dalian Quanjian, Arsenal and Liverpool.

What does she bring to Nigeria?

Oshoala brings a wealth of experience, having played in three previous World Cups and served as captain of the 2019 team. She also led Nigeria to African Women’s Championships in 2016 and 2018.

She remains one of most Nigeria’s dangerous weapons despite starting the Australia game on the bench, a decision meant to manage her long-term leg injury, coach Randy Waldrum said. When she does play, she can provide instant offense.

“She’s such a force physically,” Waldrum said. “She can create problems — the third goal was massive. When we talked about her role — she’s like any player, she wants to be on all the time — I said, ‘I just have a feeling, come on for the last 30 minutes and make a difference.’”

What have coaches said about Oshoala?

Randy Waldrum, Nigeria coach: “When you think of African football, people think of Asisat, and she’s a big blend of a couple of great traits; she’s just a stud athlete, a big player, physically strong, fast, hyper-athletic, and she’s got a great soccer IQ.”

Jonatan Giráldez, Barcelona coach: “Attitude, desire, predisposition. Asisat was one of the most important players at the start of last year.”