The Nigeria U-20 national team, aka the Flying Eagles, were in action at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza on Saturday. They took on Brazil in the final match of Group D at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina.
Finishing the Group on the top spot was the only call of duty the Flying Eagles had after having qualified before their battle with Brazil. But the team's lack of concentration tilted the result in Brazil's favour, who ran out 2-0 winners over the seven-time African U20 Champions.
The Flying Eagles fall to a defeat against Brazil and finish 3rd in Group D of the 2023 U20 World Cup.
— Home of Nigerian Football (@EaglesTrackerNG) May 27, 2023
The Nigeria U20 side hadn't beaten Brazil in this competition before. However, the Flying Eagles' head coach Ladan Bosso was confident that his side could finally get one over the South Americans, who have been a tough nut to crack for the Flying Eagles in this competition.
He said before the game, “Yes, we acknowledge that Brazil has always been a hard nut to crack for our team at this level. We have lost many 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.”
However, his team failed to have their pound of flesh over the Brazilians, although it was down to luck. They played well, went toe-to-toe with the opponents, but then, in a matter of few minutes, got picked apart by Brazil and fell 2-0 behind. The result left the two-time FIFA U20 runners-up in third position, level on points with Brazil and Italy, but with an inferior goal difference.
Nigeria U20 will wait for the final group games before their Round of 16 opponent will be confirmed.
Argentina and USA are possible opponent. pic.twitter.com/mKSygQDHEA
— Adepoju Tobi Samuel 🇳🇬 (@OgaNlaMedia) May 27, 2023
Brazil vs Nigeria: As It Happened
Both teams exchanged possession in the early minutes, preferring long passes.
In the 8th minute, Jude Sunday struck the woodwork after a good play down the right side from Emmanuel. Nigeria made its presence known, while Brazil slowly built from the back and looked for space to counterattack.
In the 38th minute, Nigeria won a freekick near the 18-yard box. However, Lawal's effort was cleared by the Brazilian defence.
Brazil took the lead in the 42nd minute with a floated-in cross by Marquinhos. Jean Pedroso's header was deflected off Anaigboso's glove and into the roof of the net, giving Brazil the lead.
Marquinhos scores for Brazil U20! Massive goal as Brazil are top of the group as things stand. pic.twitter.com/8575ARqqbe
— Hale End Productions (@Balogunner14) May 27, 2023
Frustrated by the goal, Nigeria committed men forward, but it proved costly as the Brazilians countered and scored the second goal. It gave the South Americans a comfortable 2-0 lead going into half-time.
Marquinhos goal for Brazil U20’s today pic.twitter.com/IIRRltAhJK
— pablo 🌶️ (@afcpablo_) May 27, 2023
Nigeria started the second half in disarray, conceding possession more often. In the 57th minute, Bosso made three substitutions to help galvanize his side. The substitutes tried to inject energy into the game as Nigeria chased for a goal.
In the 73rd minute, Nigeria hit the crossbar as Sarki's effort was tipped by the goalie and stopped by the crossbar.
The South Americans saw out the rest of regulation time, with 11 minutes added at the end of the 90. The play decreased in quality as time passed, but Brazil maintained their hold on proceedings.
Although it's yet to be confirmed, it's very likely that Argentina will be facing Nigeria in the U20 World Cup's R16.
In 2005, this match was the final of the tournament, as Messi won the trophy. pic.twitter.com/LMf8eM0HgI
— R.D. Football Scout (@RdScouting) May 28, 2023
Nigeria will now play either USA or Argentina in the Round of 16 of the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 months ago