Hosts and six-time champions Argentina will fancy being the favourites in their FIFA U20 World Cup Round of 16 duel with Nigeria in San Juan on Wednesday night, but Head Coach Ladan Bosso says his team will not be intimidated by the physicality of the opponents and the capacity crowd expected at the venue.
The indigenes of the Land of Pampas barnstormed through their group stage, winning all their three matches against Uzbekistan, Guatemala and New Zealand, scoring 10 goals and conceding only one. They are already among the favourites for the title, by both pedigree and current form.
Despite winning their first two matches, including beating early ravemakers Italy in commanding fashion, the Flying Eagles lost to Brazil 2-0 in La Plata on Saturday and some bookmakers think they stand no chance against the pumped-up home team.
Bosso said on Tuesday, as his boys prepared for their official training session at match time (6pm Argentine time and 10pm Nigeria) that his Africa Cup of Nations bronze medallists will be ready to give as much as they receive in Wednesday’s encounter.
“This is the World Cup and it is wrong to under-rate any team. We won two of our three matches and had the same number of points in our group as Brazil and Italy. We are no pushovers in this campaign.
“It is going to be an interesting game. We want the quarter-final ticket and the Argentines also want the quarter-final ticket. We will go in there and dig our feet into the ground.”
ALL THE QUARTER-FINAL MATCHES
Brazil Vs Tunisia
USA Vs New Zealand
Uzbekistan Vs Israel
Colombia Vs Slovakia
Argentina Vs Nigeria
England Vs Italy
Gambia Vs Uruguay
Ecuador Vs South Korea
PHOTO: The Flying Eagles arriving in San Juan on Monday night.
Ghana, Cameroon loom on Super Falcons’ route to Paris 2024
The road to next year’s Women’s Olympic Football Tournament for nine-time African champions Nigeria is haunted by Ghana and Cameroon, following the draw conducted in Cairo on Tuesday afternoon.
After a probable meeting with Ethiopia in the second round of the campaign in October this year, the Falcons will have to confront the winner of the ties Uganda/Rwanda and Cameroon.
Once they cross the Cameroonian hurdle, the Nigerian girls will be up against the winner of the Guinea Bissau/Benin Republic against Guinea/Ghana.
Cameroon stopped Nigeria from qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics, when they edged a two-leg encounter on penalties in Yaounde.
Equatorial Guinea stopped the Super Falcons in the race to Rio 2016 Olympics while Cote d’Ivoire proved the stumbling block to the last Games held in Tokyo.
However, the Super Falcons have severally stopped the Indomitable Lionesses from reaching the FIFA World Cup, including beating them in the Women AFCON quarter-finals in Morocco last year to deny the Lionesses a spot in this year’s finals in Australia and New Zealand.
The Falcons equally defeated Cameroon right in front of their home fans in the Final of the 2016 Women Africa Cup of Nations.
The Falcons stopped Ghana from reaching the Women AFCON in Morocco last year, and have also severally been the pain in the neck of Ghana’s Black Maidens as far as FIFA World Cup berths are concerned.
WAFU B U20 Women Tourney: Falconets countenance another bountiful harvest against Benin
Sixteen-goal Super Falconets of Nigeria will be the favourites when they take on their counterparts from Benin Republic in the second semi final of the ongoing WAFU B U20 Women Championship in Kumasi on Wednesday night.
The encounter starts at 6.30pm local time (7:30pm in Nigeria), hours after the first semi-final between hosts Ghana and Burkina Faso at the same Baba Yara Stadium starting at 3pm.
Six-goal Opeyemi Ajakaye of Nigeria is the tournament leading scorer, and will seek to add to her tally when the whistle goes for kick-off on Wednesday.
The Confederation of African Football has appointed Nigerien official Zouwaira Souley Sani Souley as the match referee, while Die Alse Sylla from Senegal and Ndeko Edwige Appia from Cote d’Ivoire will serve as assistant referees 1 and 2 respectively.
Togolese Edoh Kindedji will be fourth official while Naa Odofoley Nortey from Ghana will be the commissioner.
Federation Cup: Lagos, Ijebu-Ode to host semi final matches on Thursday
The Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos and Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu-Ode will be the host venues for the semi finals of men’s edition of this year’s NFF/TINGO Federation Cup competition.
Bendel Insurance FC and Warri Wolves will lock horns at the MJA on Lagos Island, and whichever side is able to climb higher on the land will be eligible to play for the prestigious trophy next month.
Rangers International, who won the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup in 1977 after a string of FA Cup (former name of Federation Cup) triumphs, will square up to ambitious Plateau United FC at the Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu-Ode.
It was at Ijebu-Ode that Warri Wolves shocked Lobi Stars 2-1 to reach the semi finals.
Rangers International pipped giant-killers Doma United 1-0 at the Akure Township Stadium in their own quarter-final, while Plateau United turned back hopeful Kwara United by the same margin in Abuja.
Bendel Insurance defeated Sunshine Stars at the Awka Township Stadium to reach the last four.
NFF/TINGO Federation Cup Semi-Finals (Men)
Bendel Insurance (Edo) Vs Warri Wolves (Delta) – Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos – 01/06/23 – 4pm
Plateau United (Plateau) Vs Rangers Int’l (Enugu) – Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode – 01/06/23 – 4pm