FIFA u-17 World Cup: Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets to play Joven El Tri of Mexico today

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets will seek to qualify for her third final in four editions of the Fifa Under-17 World Cup when they tackle the Joven El Tri of Mexico in Concepción on Thursday.

The semi-final game is a rematch of the 2013 final of the competition when Nigeria beat Mexico 3-0 to cart home the trophy for the fourth time in the United Arab Emirates.

The Eaglets also met Mexico in the group stage of the competition hammering them 6-0 before completing the coup de grace in the final in swash-buckling style.

Emmanuel Amuneke, who is in charge of the Eaglets class of 2015,was part of the coaching staff led by Garba Manu which conquered the world and unveiled the likes of Taiwo Awoniyi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Success Isaac into the limelight.

The former Zamalek of Egypt winger hopes his talented side can go all the way and repeat the heroics of the class of 2013 while observing that the Mexicans are a very good side.

“The Mexicans ( below showing they can dance, as well as score ) are a very good side and their performance so far at Chile 2015 is an indication that they have a very solid structure back home,” he told thenff.com. ”

“But we are working to ensure that the players are mentally ready for this big match.”

Nigeria will rely on Victor Osimhen ( above, infront of mates warming up ) to unsettle the Mexican defence on match day. The rangy striker has notched seven goals so far in the tournament scoring in every game the Eaglets have played.

In his elements, the 16 year old is unplayable, accounting for a whooping fifty percent of the goals scored by Nigeria.

Goalkeeper Udoh Akpan has also continued to impress as the matches come tick and fast. The shot stopper has only conceded three goals in five matches.

He was quite impressive against Brazil in the quarter-final game, keeping the Eaglets within reach with a string of fantastic saves as Brazil swarmed Nigeria in the early stages of the game before the Eaglets took control later on.

Nigeria topped Group A of the 2015 event with six points from three matches to set up a date with the Junior Joeys of Australia whom they dispatched with aplomb.

The Eaglets weathered an early Brazil barrage to beat the Selecao 3-0 in the first ever game between the two sides at this level to set up a date with Mexico.

Road to the semi-finals

Group stage

Nigeria

United States 0 Nigeria 2

Nigeria 5 Chile 1

Nigeria 1 Croatia 2

Second round

Nigeria 6 Australia 0

Quarter-final

Nigeria 3 Brazil 0

Mexico

Group stage

Mexico 2 Argentina 0

Australia 0 Mexico 0

Germany 1 Mexico 2

Second round

Mexico 4 Chile 1

Quarter-final

Ecuador 0 Mexico 2

Previous encounters

Nigeria 0 Mexico 1- July 16, 1987

Mexico 1 Nigeria 6 – October 19, 2013

Nigeria 3 Mexico 0 – November 8, 2013.

Snippets

* Mexico and Nigeria have met three times at this level. Nigeria has two wins while Mexico has one

* There has been eleven goals scored in total in matches between the two sides at this level. Nigeria has scored nine times while Mexico have two goals.

* The two teams have won the cup six times between them. While Nigeria has four ( 1985, 1993, 2007 and 2013), Mexico won it twice in 2005 and 2011.

* Nigeria has been the runner up in the competition three times (1987, 2001 and 2009)while Mexico were runners up in 2013.

 

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Iheanyi Igboko is a social advocate, educator and journalist/blogger; working actively in the education and human development sector. He is passionate about promoting access to quality education, increasing youth active participation and engagement, and empowering young people to develop solutions to their problems. He craves unending hopes of a better Nigeria that will meet the hopes and aspirations of her citizens; and committed to building a nation that will seamlessly harness and develop her numerous human and capital potentials.

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