This is the Flying Eagles’ 13th appearance at the global football showpiece, but how have they fared against Asians?
Nigeria take on South Korea in Sunday’s FIFA U20 quarter-final as they bid to emerge as world champions at this level of competition.
Having stuttered against Brazil in their last group fixture, Ladan Bosso’s boys pulled a big upset in the Round of 16 – defeating hosts and pre-tournament favourites Argentina.
Against the Red Devils, many are rooting for the West Africans to reach the last four. Ahead of the crunch tie set for Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades in Santiago del Estero, Soccernet.ng examines Nigeria’s previous encounters against countries from the world’s largest continent.
February 16, 1989: Saudi Arabia 1-2 Nigeria
This fixture marked Nigeria’s first encounter with an Asian team at the FIFA U20 World Cup. Incidentally, it was the Flying Eagles facing hosts Saudi Arabia in the opener of the seventh edition.
Played inside Riyadh’s King Fahd International Stadium, it was the Arabians who took a 16th minute lead courtesy of Saadoun Al Suraiti.
Tunde Disu’s men waited until the 52nd minute to level matters through Mutiu Adepoju before Christopher Ohenhen netted the winner with just three minutes left on the clock.
June 15, 2005: South Korea 1-2 Nigeria
The Flying Eagles had to wait for 16 years before facing an Asian opposition. It was in the Netherlands this time around with the Africans ending up on the losing side.
Fuelled by their impressive 0-0 draw with Brazil, Samson Siasia’s boys faced the Red Devils in their second group game.
At the Unive Stadion, Emmen, Nigeria took the lead after 18 minutes through David Abwo who beat goalkeeper Cha Ki Seok from close range.
When it looked like the Africans had secured all points, late goals from Park Chu-Young and Baek Ji Hoon earned Park Sung Wha’s team victory.
July 1, 2007: Japan 0-0 Nigeria
After securing victories over Costa Rica and Scotland, next up for the Flying Eagles was the Japanese U20 team.
With qualification for the next round already secured, coach Ladan Bosso paraded a second-string side that played a goalless draw with Yasushi Yoshida’s side at the Royal Athletic Park.
Ultimately, Nigeria finished as runners-up in Group F to meet Zambia in the Round of 16 before crashing out 4-0 to Chile in the quarter-final.
August 6, 2011: Saudi Arabia 0-2 Nigeria
The Flying Eagles’ dominance over Asians continued in Columbia. This time, the Green Falcons were at the receiving end.
After scoring five against Guatemala and Croatia respectively, the Nigerian side pipped Saudi Arabia 2-0 in their last group fixture.
Ahmed Musa set the ball rolling with the opener on the stroke of half-time inside Estadio Hernán Ramírez Villegas, Pereira. Kayode Olanrewaju confirmed victory with his fine strike with five minutes left on the clock.
Even at the team’s impressive attacking run, they did not progress past the quarter-final following a 3-2 loss to France.
June 27, 2013: South Korea 0-1 Nigeria
John Obuh’s Flying Eagles needed to beat the Red Devils in 1-0 in their last group outing to secure qualification to the Round of 16 after a false start against Portugal.
In the grudge outing, Kayode Olarenwaju’s ninth minute effort separated both sides in Istanbul. Yet, they crashed out in the Round of 16 to Uruguay.
June 4, 2015: Nigeria 4-0 North Korea
Inside New Plymouth’s Stadium Taranaki, the Flying Eagles got one of their biggest win in FIFA U20 World Cup history.
Still hurt by their 4-2 defeat to Brazil on the opening day, Manu Garba’s boys returned to winning ways in fantastic fashion against the North Koreans.
After a scoreless first half, Saviour Godwin put Nigeria ahead in the 48th minute. Before completing his brace three minutes later.
Kingsley Sokari extended the lead in the 70th minute before Success Isaac capped an awe-inspiring display with a fourth goal.
May 24, 2019: Qatar 0-4 Nigeria
Nigeria kicked off their 2019 U20 World Cup campaign with a rampant 4-0 Group D win over a lackluster Qatar side in Tychy.
Maxwell Effiom and Okechukwu Offia struck first-half goals to open their international accounts at Tychy Stadium, with Tom Dele-Bashiru and Aliu Salawudeen adding two more goals to silence the Asians.
Effiom scored the opener after 12minutes, and it was the creativity and industry of Ikouwem Utin which picked apart Qatar’s tightly stitched seams.
In the second half, they were further outplayed as Manchester City’s Dele-Bashiru and Salawudeen’s completed the win.