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NIGERIA VS AUSTRALIA: MIXED FORTUNES AS FAMILIAR OPPONENTS CLASH

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

One of the often-occurring fixtures of the FIFA U17 World Cup is a clash of Nigeria and Australia. Both have met sixth times in the past. Thus the Friday Group B fixture at the

When Nigeria and the Estadio Bezerrão in the capital city of Brasilia will be the seventh clash of the two teams. But certainly, epic confrontation may not be expected as Nigeria may not field its full strength as some players may be rested for the potentially more challenging knock-out stage.

The Golden Eaglets are already through to that stage and top position is almost guaranteed except they lose by more than three goals while Ecuador beat Hungary by four goals.

In that scenario, both Nigeria and Ecuador qualify and Nigeria will then be second on the group log.

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But the situation is most unlikely and could be one of the major upsets of the competition that started 34 years ago. Sports Village Square recalls that both Nigeria and Australia had met six times in the past.

Nigeria won all the games, scoring a massive 18 goals and conceding just two. Apart from winning all the previous encounters, some of the duels provided fertile lands for Nigerians to shoot into record books.

For instance, it was in the game with Australia in 2001 that Femi Opabunmi entered into the record books as a hat trick achiever.

Five years ago, Victor Osimhen did the same with Australia in 2015. Which Nigerian player will enter the record books after the clash with Australia on Friday? We wait and watch.

THE SCOREBOARDS: AUSTRALIA VS NIGERIA

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  • 19 Jul. 1987 Australia 0-1 Nigeria – Quarterfinals
  • 26 Aug.1993 Australia 0-2 Nigeria  – Group Stage
  • 6 Aug.1995 Australia 0-2 Nigeria – Group Stage
  • 23 Sep.2001 Australia 1-5 Nigeria  – Quarterfinals
  • 16 Aug.2003 Australia 1-2 Nigeria – Group Stage
  • 28 Oct. 2015 Australia 0-6 Nigeria – Round of 16

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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