FIFA U-17 World Cup: Golden Eaglets Set For Semi-Final Victory-FIFA Under-17 four times champion and World’s leading super power in youth soccer, Nigeria Golden Eaglets once again are on course to make history. The African pride and Nigeria’s hope in image mending meet Mexico in the semi-final of the on-going Under-17 World Championship football holding in Chile.
Fortunately, The Golden Eaglets are current defending champions.
On Sunday, the boys kept Brazil on its toes, making the South American team danced off the pitch of play with a resounding 3-0 victory.
It was a defeat too many for Brazilian coach Carlos Amadeu, keeping him dazed beyond imagination as his Boys were taught the real steps in dancing Samba through the Africa choreographic tutelage.
Football heavyweight Brazil was hit for 3-0 in Vina del Mar, Chile, as the awesome Eaglets took no chances in steps to retain the cup for the honour of Nigeria’s indelible place in youth Football history. Fortunately, Nigeria holds the best record in the history of the tournament, winning it four times in its 30 years of history. It won the first maiden edition in 1985 in China when Nduka Ugbade-led wonder Boys lifted the trophy from the blues, stunning the whole World with the World record victory.
Last Sunday, goal efforts from Victor Osimhen, (his eighth goal in five games), Kingsley Michael and Udochukwu Anumudu were all the Nigerians needed to horse-ride into Thursday semi finals against either Mexico and Coach Emmanuel Emunike minced no words when he said that his boys are yet to celebrate because their targets are yet to be met, setting their eyes on retaining the Championship trophy, praising the boys for a job so well delivered: “Is not like we scored three goals and that was it. Before that our side had 15 very good minutes, when they moved the ball around as we knew they could.
You have to give credit to my kids, who were tranquil and kept their cool to deal with the Brazil pressure and then scored at the right time. For them, to beat Brazil is a big confidence boost. We still have a long way to the title, though,”
The Eaglets, having been dazzled by the Brazilians at the earlier stage of the match had got their rhythms right with goalkeeper Akpan Udoh giving answers to all the raids and keeping them at bay.
However, midway into the first half, the Nigerians took control of the proceedings, with Osimhen, John Lazarus, Kelechi Nwakali, Funsho Bamgboye and Chukwueze running rings round the hapless South Americans.
Osimhen gave Nigeria the lead when he nodded in a John Lazarus’ cross. A few minutes later, it was 2-0 courtesy of a Michael goal, while Anumudu hit a left-footed drive from distance to round off the scoring.
After dispatching Brazil with ease in the quarter-final, the Golden Eaglets will keep a date with Mexico in the semi-final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Thursday.
Nigeria’s next victory in the first semi-final over Mexico is destiny in waiting, and wont be by opportunism:
Ahead of the clash, Completesportsnigeria.com’s JAMES AGBEREBI unveils seven facts of the Golden Eaglets in the semi-final of the U-17 World Cup and previous encounters with Mexico.
THIS IS THE FOURTH TIME THE GOLDEN EAGLETS WILL FACE MEXICO AT THE FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP
The Golden Eaglets’ semi-final clash against Mexico will be their fourth meeting at this level, with the Eaglets edging it two wins to a loss.
Both teams first met in the group stage of the 1987 edition in Canada, with the Mexicans winning 1-0. They met twice in 2013 in the United Arab Emirates and the Eaglets won on both occasions, 6-1 in the group stage and 3-0 in the final.
THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THE GOLDEN EAGLETS WILL BE MEETING A TEAM FROM THE AMERICAS IN THE SEMI-FINAL
In seven previous semi-final appearances, the Golden Eaglets have only met African and European countries. Their first ever semi-final opponent was Guinea in China 1985. In Canada 1987 and Japan 1993, they squared off against Italy and Poland respectively.
At the 2001 edition in Trinidad and Tobago, Burkina Faso became the second African team they played against in the last four. Then they took on Germany in South Korea 2007, Spain in Nigeria 2009 and Sweden in UAE 2013.
THE GOLDEN EAGLETS HAVE NEVER LOST A SEMI-FINAL MATCH AT THE U-17 WORLD CUP
The Golden Eaglets have won all seven semi-final games they’ve played in the U-17 World Cup. In China 1985, they beat Guinea 4-2 in a penalty shootout after regulation time ended 1-1. They beat Italy 1-0 at Canada 1987, overcame Poland 2-1 in Japan 1993, defeated Burkina Faso 1-0 in Trinidad and Tobago 2001 and subdued Germany 3-1 in South Korea 2007. In Nigeria 2009, Spain fell 3-1, before Sweden were spanked 3-0 in 2013 in the UAE.
THE GOLDEN EAGLETS HAVE NEVER CONCEDED FIRST IN A SEMI-FINAL MATCH
No team has ever gone ahead to score first against the Golden Eaglets in the semi-final of the U-17 World Cup. Against Guinea in 1985, Fatai Atere put the Eaglets ahead in the 10th minute before Mohammed Soumah equalized for the Guineans 10 minutes later. Against Italy in 1987, Christopher Nwosu’s 63rd minute goal, sealed a 1-0 win for the Eaglets. Wilson Oruma headed the Eaglets into the lead on 52 minutes before Peter Anosike made it 2-0 on 57 minutes, in 1993. Poland reduced the deficit in the 79th minute.
In 2001, Femi Opabunmi’s fourth minute penalty was the difference between Nigeria and Burkina Faso. Germany fell to Macauley Chrisantus’ 10th minute opener in 2007 as they went on to lose 3-1. Against Spain in 2009, Stanley Okoro opened the scoring with a 30th minute strike. The Eaglets went on to win 3-1. And in 2013, Taiwo Awoniyi scored the first goal on 21 minutes in a 3-0 win against Sweden.
THE GOLDEN EAGLETS HAVE NEVER FAILED TO SCORE IN THE SEMI-FINAL
The Golden Eaglets have always scored in every semi-final they’ve played: (China 1985: Nigeria 1-1 Guinea. Eaglets won 4-2 on penalty shootout) (Canada 1987: Nigeria 1-0 Italy) (Japan 1993: Nigeria 2-1 Poland) (Trinidad and Tobago 2001: Nigeria 1-0 Burkina Faso) (South Korea 2007: Nigeria 3-1 Germany) (Nigeria 2009: Nigeria 3-1 Spain) (UAE 2013: Nigeria 3-0 Sweden).
NO TEAM HAS EVER SCORED MORE THAN ONE GOAL AGAINST THE EAGLETS IN THE SEMI-FINAL
The Eaglets have conceded just four goals in seven semi-final games at the U-17 World Cup. But in the games they conceded these goals, non of the teams scored more than one goal: Nigeria 1-1 Guinea (1985); Nigeria 2-1 Poland(1993) Nigeria 3-1 Germany(2007); Nigeria 3-1 Spain(2009).
THE ONLY TIME THE GOLDEN EAGLETS ADVANCED TO THE FINAL VIA PENALTY SHOOUTOUT WAS IN CHINA 1985
Aside from the maiden edition in 1985 where they had to defeat Guinea 4-2 on penalties, the Eaglets’ six other triumphs have all been decided during regulation time: (Canada 1987: Nigeria 1-0 Italy) (Japan 1993: Nigeria 2-1 Poland) (Trinidad and Tobago 2001: Nigeria 1-0 Burkina Faso) (South Korea 2007: Nigeria 3-1 Germany) (Nigeria 2009: Nigeria 3-1 Spain) (UAE 2013: Nigeria 3-0 Sweden).