NIGERIA seek TO END BRAZIL Dominance – Punch Newspapers
The Flying Eagles will be aiming to record their first win against Brazil U-20 at the ongoing U-20 World Cup in Argentina, Saturday PUNCH reports.
Both teams will be meeting for the seventh time at the U-20 level on Saturday (today) at the La Plata Stadium in Argentina.
The five-time winners of the competition have defeated the Flying Eagles on four occasions while the other two games ended in stalemates.
The young Selecao defeated the Flying Eagles 3-0 in Nigeria’s debut appearance at the U-20 World Cup (then known as FIFA World Youth Championship) in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1983. The Selecao were also 2-0 winners at the 1985 edition of the tournament.
Brazil continued their dominance at the 1987 edition in Chile with a 4-0 thumping of the Flying Eagles.
However, both teams battled to a goalless draw in their opening match of Group F at the 2005 finals in The Netherlands.
They also held the young Selecao to a 1-1 draw at the 2013 edition in Turkey.
Their most recent meeting was in the 2015 edition which saw Brazil beat Nigeria 4-2.
While Nigeria will be hoping to seal top spot in Group D by avoiding defeat in the game, Brazil on their path will be seeking a vital win to book a place in the last 16.
Brazil got up and running in style after their opening group defeat to Italy defeating Dominican Republic 6-0 with goals from Savio, Marcos Leonardo, Jean Pedroso, Giovane, Marlon Gomes and Matheus Martins last Wednesday.
But Flying Eagles head coach Ladan Bosso remains confident that the seven-time African champions will end their winless runs against the South Americans.
“Yes, we acknowledge that Brazil has always been a hard nut to crack for our team at this level,” Bosso said in a media statement from the Nigerian Football Federation.
“We have lost a number of matches to them over the decades, but there is always a first time. We are riding on a wave of robust confidence and though we do not under-rate them, we certainly do not fear them.
“We have been able to fulfil our first objective for this championship: getting to the knockout stages. We will take it one match at a time from now onwards. We don’t want to take it easy and lose against Brazil; that will not be good for our winning mentality.”
Meanwhile, Brazil U-20 star Matheus Martins is confident Brazil will beat Nigeria and qualify for the round of sixteen.
“The thinking is positive. The group is happy and we are going to have a great training session tomorrow to close the preparation and beat Nigeria and qualify, God willing.
“I think it will be a great game. They will impose their game too because they got two wins, but we are Brazil and we go in to always win.”