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Nigerians Take England to World Cup Final



England has Nigeria to thank for qualifying for the final of FIFA U-20 World Cup for the first time on Thursday.
England, parading no fewer than five players of Nigerian extraction came from behind to beat Italy 3-1 and advance to the final in South Korea.
Getting to the final tells little about the story. The path is more significant. The three goals that took the birthplace of modern football, England, were all scored and plotted by Nigerians!
First it was Dominic Solanke that slotted in the first goal in the 66th minute. The goal cancelled the earlier lead by Italy.
After persistent pressure, Dominic Solanke calmly slotted a shot in after Andrea Zaccagno parried Sheyi Ojo’s cross into his path. Sheyi Ojo is a Nigerian in England’s jersey.
Eleven minutes later, another Nigerian, Ademola Lookman, a forward of Everton fired in the lead for England. It was his third goal for England in the tournament.
Dominic Solanke finished the job with the third goal for England, making it a brace for him and his fourth goal of the tournament.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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