Nigeria will go into today’s second group game against the United States of America (U.S) knowing that victory will take them to the second round of the on-going FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.
The match will hold in the Bielsko-Biala Stadium, the 15,000–capacity facility, which hosted its last international game in March 2018, when Poland tackled England in an U-20 match.
Coach Paul Aigbogun is banking on the flaming form of his boys, who scored four goals against Qatar in their first match in Tychy on Friday, to consume a desperate Team U.S. still looking for its first point of the finals. The Americans lost 1-2 to Ukraine also on Friday.
“We had a great game against Qatar and we want to stay in that spirit all through the championship. We will not make the mistake of under-rating any team; our approach remains taking it one game at a time. We go in there and fulfill our gameplan of achieving victory.
“It is not going to be an easy match; the Americans are hurt after losing their first game. But we are in good form and we need the three points to assure our place in the Round of 16,” Aigbogvun said yesterday.
Both countries first met at this level in the semi finals of the 1989 edition in Saudi Arabia, with a high–spirited Nigeria side just coming from a miraculous triumph over old Soviet Union in the quarter finals. The Flying Eagles had come from a 0-4 deficit with 15 minutes left on the clock, to tie the encounter with the Soviets in Dammam and went ahead to win on penalties.
On February 28, 1989, goals by Mutiu Adepoju sealed a 2-1 win over the U.S. at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah to send Nigeria into her first–ever final match of the FIFA U20 World Cup.
Today, victory over U.S. will send the Flying Eagles into the knockout rounds, and Maxwell Effiom, Henry Offia, Ayotomiwa Dele-Bashiru and Aliu Salawudeen, who all scored against Qatar, will look to add to their tournament tally.