· Reigning U-17 World Champions, Nigeria began their title defense with a composed 2-0 victory over USA in the Golden Eaglets’ opening match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015.
· Two second half goals from Chukwudi Agor and Victor Osimhen secured the all-important three points for the Africans, with the coach of the side identifying a superior dose of team belief as the difference between the two teams.
Speaking to FIFA.com after the encounter, Emmanuel Amuneke was quoted as saying:
“Considering it was the first match, I think it was a good game. At the beginning it was pretty even, everything very tactical, neither of us wanted to make a mistake. At half time I told my players to believe in themselves, and it worked, because we were more precise.”
It was not all plain for the Nigerians who had to step up their game after a scoreless opening 45 minutes which saw plenty of chances go begging for both sides.
The Nigerian coach was however pleased with the way his boys earned all points on offer.
“Besides the three points, which are very important, I also liked that we kept our heads even when we could not get things going,” Emmanuel Amuneke enthused.
No team is ever happy after a defeat and no one could be more disappointed than Richie Willams, USA’s coach after watching his wards succumbed in the second half after a promising first 45.
“We are obviously disappointed because of the outcome. We played a good first half, we were balanced, solid and we even created some chances that we were not able to convert.
Nigeria scored two quick goals, but thank to unfortunate errors on our side. We were hoping to be more effective, but we lost against a good Nigerian team,” the USA coach said.
The victory puts the Golden Eaglets top of a group that also has hosts Chile and Croatia.
Nigeria’s next game is against the hosts Chile, who only managed a 1-1 draw against Croatia also on Sunday.