Golden eaglets plot revenge against Croatia, could face Ecuador in next stage

Published on: 24 October 2015
Golden eaglets plot revenge against Croatia, could face Ecuador in next stage
Golden Eaglets

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets are poised for avenge a loss they suffered to Croatia as they look set to face Ecuador in the round of 16 of the FIFA U17 World Cup.

The Eaglets lost 3-2 to Croatia at an invitational Sewon tournament in South Korea as part of their preparations for the World Cup.

And both teams clash again Friday midnight in Nigeria.

For the knockout stage of the competition, the Nigeria youngsters are pitched against the best third losers in Groups C, D and E, which as it stands look like Ecuador.

Ecuador are third in Group D with three points after two matches. They beat Honduras 3-1 in their opening group game, before they lost to Mali 2-1.

Their final group game will be against group leaders Belgium.

Australia (1 point, 2 matches) are third in Group C and South Africa (1 point, 2 matches) are third in Group E.

The Eaglets were the first team to qualify for the knockout stage of the World Cup in Chile and will very much want to keep a 100% record after the match against Croatia.

Croatia have featured at the FIFA U17 World Cup twice before now in 2001 and 2013, but could not go beyond the group stage on both occasions.

This record pales against that of Nigeria, who have featured in 10 editions before now and won the competition a record four times - 1985, 1993, 2007 and 2013.

Eaglets forward Samuel Chukwueze caught the eye in the 5-1 thumping of hosts Chile and he has insisted the loss to Croatia in the Korea tournament will not affect their confidence going into the game on Friday.

“Absolutely not. We showed against Chile that we have a strong mentality and nothing will make us lose it,” Chukwueze said.

However, they will be without two players due to suspensions - Udochukwu Anumudu and Funsho Bamigboye.

Anumudu got his second yellow card of the tournament in the big win over Chile, while Bamigboye will also miss the game after he was sent off for an off-the-ball challenge in the same game.