Nigeria’s Flying Eagles and Hungary will face off on Sunday in New Plymouth to decide who join Brazil in the next round of the FIFA World Youth Championships.
| Photo Credit: MITVOnline
Although both teams lost to Brazil and beat Korea DPR, the Europeans however have a slight advantage and are currently second in the Group E table since the Flying Eagles suffered a heavier defeat against the South Americans.
Therefore, despite each boasting three points, Hungary would advance to the next round with a draw, whereas only an outright win will do for Nigeria.
Nigeria’s pedigree at the under-age tournaments is incredible, yet the Hungarians can’t be under-rated.
Against Brazil, they showcased their ability to defend compactly and cause problems with quick breaks forward.
And despite having been reduced to ten men since the 15th minute, Hungary only lost to the South Americans by two goals to one.
One thing is certain, they will fight to finish.
And in Bence Mervo, currently the tournament’s leading scorer with four goals in two games, the Europeans have the tool to cause damage.
The Africans would do well to keep a close eye on arguably the tournament’s most in-form forward.
However, Nigeria have an attack-minded side and confidence is restored after smashing four unreplied goals past hapless Korea DPR.
| Photo Credit: Sportlineng
To earn that victory, Coach Manu Garba made four changes to the team that looked so disjointed and all-over-the-place against Brazil.
Powerful forward Taiwo Awoniyi, tireless Akinjide Idowu, Bernard Bulbwa and Kingsley Sokari were all recalled to the starting line-up, as the likes of Granada’s Isaac Success and star player Kelechi Iheanacho returned to the bench.
It is anybody’s guess who the Nigerian coach will start in this crucial final group match, yet there’s enough evidence to prove that the link-up play between powerfully-built forward Success Isaac and his quick and skillful team-mates such as Saviour Godwin, who struck a brace in their last game, can unsettle any defence.
The impressive Taiwo Awoniyi would be favourite however to start ahead of Isaac Success.
He may have no goal yet to his name in New Zealand but his contribution to team play his vital, his two fine assists in the win over Korea DPR a valid testament.
And with Manchester City’s Iheanacho still with a point to prove, a win for the Flying Eagles is not mission impossible.