FIFA Under17 World Cup Final: “We Will Crush Nigeria”, Warns Mexic–Nigeria’s Under-17 football heroes, who have held the World spell bound due to their consistency and distinct style of play in the on-going under 17 World Cup finals are at it again, setting to bring honour back to Nigeria.
Notable politicians and many segments of the Nigeria public have called on the wonder boys not to set for anything less but the cup as Mexico, the defending champion has beaten the odds to come back from the doom of an early exit, having been deflated, trashed, humiliated and captured in a 6-0 win opener against Nigeria. The Mexicans are up for a wicked revenge to safe back their pride.
But Football is not mathematics, as the amazing come back has set the Mexicans for a major jugular against a team that deflated their ego as World Champions.
However, considering Nigeria’s stake as the best record holder in the championship, the nation’s honor, respect and dignity are on the edge.
And so, this Friday final to both stakeholders appears to be more than a face- off, and the duel between the three-time champions Nigeria and a resurgent Mexico at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Friday night leaves a lot to be thought about..
A visit from Formula One driver McLaren’s Sergio Perez spurred the Mexicans on as they went on to blank nine-man Argentina in the semi-final.
Having sealed a spot which was deservedly theirs, Mexico are now plotting revenge.
“It’s a different match from the first one, for sure. It will be a tough game for us. So, we will have to be ready. It’s a World Cup final and this is a stage where you have to be at your best,” Mexican captain Ulises Rivas said on the eve of the final.
“Obviously, we started badly. So, there was nowhere to go but up for us. The last games were difficult ones, but they’ve made us stronger and more together in the team and they’ve prepared us for the final,” he added.
Rivas said that unity was their main weapon. “Our main strength is our unity and our willingness to move the ball around. When we play together as one we become better than we are as individual players,” said Rivas.
Meanwhile, the goal-crazy Nigerians are in line to equal and beat Germany’s record of most number of goals in a competition. Germany, who finished third in Mexico in 2011, scored 24, while Nigeria are on 23.
“There won’t be any pressure on us against Mexico, because we’ll be physically and mentally prepared for the match. But I repeat that Mexico are a dangerous and very skilful team. We’ve witnessed their resilience since losing to us 6-1, a result which did not prevent them from reaching the final,” Nigeria coach Manu Garba, said.
Nigeria may still be odds-on favourites to take the trophy away from Mexico. But there is a matter of the law of averages catching up. Did Nigeria peak too early? Nigeria are unbeaten in the competition and an unexpected loss hovers around them in a game which is the biggest of all games in the on-going competition.
Know The Match Officials:
Scotland’s Craig Thomson will officiate the final of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup between Nigeria and defending champions Mexico at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Friday night.
Thomson’s countrymen Derek Rose and Alan Mulvanny have been picked as the assistant referees for the final. Norbert Hauata of Tahiti is the fourth official.
Thomson, who is also a solicitor and specifies in construction and engineering law, has officiated top competitions since becoming a FIFA International Referee in 2003. The 41-year-old has officiated in the UEFA Champions League, Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, apart from the Scottish Premier League. He is also on the list of prospective referees and assistant referees for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Thomson’s first international was the game between Northern Ireland and Norway in 2004. He was a fourth official at Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria.
Thomson was in the spotlight after Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso picked up delibrate yellow cards from him in a Champions League fixture, which allowed the duo to sit out a inconsequential game against Auxerre in 2010.
He officiated the group stages of Euro 2012. Thomson officiated the Champions League quarter-final between Borussia Dortmund and Malaga, which the German side won.
President of the Senate Senator David Mark has expressed appreciation to the victorious Golden Eaglets
Senator Mark in a congratulatory message to the players and officials in Dubai after they defeated their Sweden counterparts said the Nigerian lads gave a good account of themselves and made the nation the beautiful bride.
Senator Mark reminded the Golden Eaglets that the nation is solidly behind them in prayers and assured them that the government will do the needful in terms of their welfare and upkeep .
He added that the National Assembly on its part will continue to make adequate budgetary allocation for sports to flourish in Nigeria.
The Senate President noted that sports needs to be encouraged as the needed ingredient for unity and cohesion in the country.
” We have every reason to encourage sports in all ramifications . More than any thing else, sports unites all Nigerians. It is during sporting activities like this that we forget our differences and see ourselves as true brothers and sisters “, Senator Mark maintained.
He charged the Golden Eaglets and their officials to go all out to win the championship .
Also, the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has urged the boys to go all out to lift the Trophy.
Mr. Amosun said he followed the journey of the Golden Eaglets from the preliminaries, describing their performance as superlative.
In a press release by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Funmi Wakama, Mr. Amosun said he is confident that the Eaglets will bring home the cup, as nothing short of victory will make the nation proud.
“The Golden Eaglets have performed exceedingly well so far. I have watched most of their matches, up till when they qualified for the final. Their performance in the 2013 edition of the FIFA under 17 World Cup has been great,” the governor said.
The governor, who expressed optimism at the final match, urged the team to repeat the trouncing of Mexico, just like in the preliminaries and write their names in gold. He wished the Golden Eaglets victory as they file out for their final match in the UAE.