Nigeria's Cynthia Uwak, who plays her club football in Sweden, crushed the Scandinavians' hopes of a perfect start to China 2007 when she struck an equaliser eight minutes from time in Chengdu on Tuesday. The 1-1 draw means that all four teams in Group B (USA, Sweden, Nigeria and Korea DPR) are even on one point apiece after one matchday.
The clash of cultures and styles began happily enough for the fancied Swedes, who created some decent chances early on. After only two minutes a snapshot from Hanna Ljungberg forced a fine save from the outstanding Precious Dede, who pushed the ball up and against the crossbar. Victoria Svensson then hammered against the same woodwork on the half-hour mark.
Despite being up against it at times in the opening period, the Nigerians grew in confidence as the match progressed. Ifeanyi Chiejine had a good chance to score on a counterattack late in the first half, but the teams went in at the break goalless.
The Swedes did not take long to break Nigeria's resistance after the restart. Frida Ostberg's midfield industry led the way in the 50th minute as she played in captain Svensson, who made no mistake slotting home. Despite the setback, Nigeria's refusal to give up paid dividends when Falkopings striker Uwak tied the game from 12 yards in the 82nd minute.
The Swedes, runners-up at USA 2003, will now be keen to improve in their next match against USA, who drew with Korea DPR in their first match, while Nigeria take on the impressive East Asians.
Player of the Match: Stella Mbachu (NGA)