… As Nigeria face Argentina, one of the teams favoured lifting the U20 World Cup.
It will be recalled that Nigeria’s Flying Eagles on Saturday, May 27, 2023, finished third place in Group D at the ongoing 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina following a 2-0 defeat to five-time champions Brazil in their last group game at the Estadio Único Diego Armando Maradona, La Plata.
Ladan Bosso’s boys defeated the Dominican Republic 2-1 on matchday one before beating Italy 2-0 to soar to the summit of the group.
As a result of the defeat to Brazil, there have been concerns over Flying Eagles’ chances in the knockout stage.
With the defeat against Brazil, Flying Eagles were placed in the third position in Group D on goal difference.
The defeat notably was the Flying Eagles’ only loss in Group D after beating the Dominican Republic and Italy in their first two matches.
The Nigeria Flying Eagles are placed behind Brazil and Italy in the group standing but qualified for the U-20 World Cup Round of 16 as one of the best third-placed teams in the group stage.
Flying Eagles will trade tackles with the hosts Argentina U20 national team in the Round of 16 of the FIFA U20 World Cup. The match will take place at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario on Wednesday, May 31, 2023. Kick-off time is 10 pm Nigerian time.
Argentina finished top of Group A with a 100 percent record, winning all their matches.
They are the most successful nation at the FIFA U20 World Cup with six titles, and they will be favourites against a Nigerian side that has conceded three goals in three games.
Nigeria has never won the FIFA U-20 World Cup since the inception of the tournament in 1977. The Flying Eagles’ best finish is second place spots at the 1989 and 2005 editions. They were eliminated in the Round of 16 in the last edition in 2019.
Nigerians’ hopes are high, expecting that the Flying Eagles up their game at the 2019 edition by at least making it to the quarter-finals of the 2023 edition, and then start dreaming of appearing at the finals and ultimately winning the 2023 competition, which is possible.
The only way the Flying Eagles can advance to the last-8 is if they put in an improved performance in the last-16.
It is pertinent at this juncture to state that football is not magic, and the Flying Eagles will need to be focused, as well as be clinical to stand any chance of progressing in the tournament.
Ladan Bosso’s side would have to prepare hard in training and implement it with a decisive fighting spirit on the pitch, converting possible opportunities in front of the goal as they come up against opponents.
Notwithstanding facing a possibly tough Argentina, head coach Ladan Bosso said they will fight to ensure they get to the final.
“We have to fight for the trophy. I think it is still open. Everybody can be there, and I believe we have the capacity to be there. We are into the knockout stage, and in the knockout stage, there is an approach, we can employ for it, and we hope we’d have our plans executed accordingly,” Ladan emphasized.
Meanwhile, Flying Eagles missed their all important preparation training session ahead of Wednesday’s battle with Argentina, due to travelling delay by Argentine airport officials.
The team’s training earlier scheduled to hold at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentario on Monday night was aborted after their flight from Buenos Aires to San Juan was delayed.
However, the training at the stadium was rescheduled for Tuesday.