Nigeria have qualified for the round of 16 at the U20 FIFA World Cup in Argentina, after edging out Italy 2-0 in Mendoza, their second successive victory in Group D.
Salim Fago and Jude Sunday scored the goals for the Flying Eagles to soar them into the last 16 with a match to spare in the group. But even with a brilliant victory, head coach Ladan Bosso still wants more from the team, with their eyes pegged on getting to the final.
“For now, we are still a work in progress. We are still in the tournament and we can never be satisfied yet until we play the final,” the tactician said after his team’s victory over Italy.
This was their second win in the group, having started off with a 2-1 victory over The Dominican Republic on Match Day One.
He was delighted with the performance of his side in earning the victory.
“You have seen it, it’s a good thing that we have orientated our boys on how to get the Italians, and we stuck to our tactics. After the first half, we tried to reinforce the team so that if we could not score, we shouldn’t be able to concede, and eventually, it went well for us,” the tactician noted.
His sentiments are shared by midfielder Victor Eletu, who played a starring role in the victory.
“I am very happy with how the team played because we showed great character. I know we can go far in this competition because we have a very good team. We played as a team and that’s why we could beat a strong opponent like Italy,” Eletu, who plays his club football in Italy with AC Milan said.
Nigeria will next face off with Brazil in a blockbuster tie, with the winner of the duel set to finish top of the group and seeded better for the round of 16. Coach Bosso says however, he will rotate his squad to give those who haven’t played a chance to prove themselves.
“We will play a normal game with Brazil. I think they are beatable,” said the tactician.
In the game against Italy, both sides had close scoring chances in the opening half, but it was not until the second 45 that the goals came through. Fago broke the deadlock with a beautiful diving header on the hour mark from a cross on the right.
In the fourth minute of added time, Sunday made it 2-0 when he ran onto a lobbed ball, chested it to move away from his marker before shooting low past the keeper.
Meanwhile in the other match involving an African team at the World Cup, Senegal picked their first point after a 1-1 draw with Israel. Pape Demba Diop drew Senegal level in the 80th minute, after Babacar N’Diaye had scored in his own net in the 58th minute.
The African champions who started their campaign with a slim 1-0 defeat at the hands of Japan will now face off with Group leaders Colombia in a must win duel to keep their last 16 hopes alive.