By Steve Keating
WINNIPEG (Reuters) - Francisca Ordega scored a late equalizer for Nigeria to earn a 3-3 draw with Sweden in their Group D Women's World Cup opener on Monday, signaling that Africa will be heard from during the month-long tournament.
A day after Germany crushed the Ivory Coast 10-0, the Super Falcons restored African pride with an all-out attacking style that won over the fans and shocked the fifth-ranked Swedes.
With Sweden hanging on for the win, Ordega ran onto a perfect pass from Ngozi Okobi and confidently fired the ball past charging goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl in the 87th minute.
Nigeria had Sweden on the back foot for much of the match but found themselves 2-0 down at halftime after an own goal by Desire Oparanozie and a tap-in from Nilla Fischer, both scores coming off Sweden corners and the product of sloppy defending.
But the speedy Nigerians continued to press forward in the second half and were rewarded for their enterprise as they scored twice in a three-minute burst from forwards Okobi and Asisat Oshoala, who out-muscled Fischer for the ball at the top of the penalty area and then coolly slotted home.
The reeling Swedes were quick to respond, regaining the lead at 3-2 when substitute Linda Sembrant kneed a cross past Nigeria's goalkeeper Precious Dede.
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)