Against all predictions, Nigeria, on Wednesday, defeated Italy 2-0 in their second game of the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina. That is a big feat for a team written off by most pundits after their unimpressive game against Dominican Republic on Sunday. Yet, the team’s coach, Ladan Bosso, says the victory over Italy is just a tip of what his boys are capable of doing in this competition.
Wednesday’s victory in Mendoza ensured Nigeria qualified for the second round from Group D, but Bosso says the Flying Eagles have their eyes on getting to the final.
Speaking after the game against Italy, Bosso said: “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.”
Explaining the tactics that gave his team victory, Bosso said: “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.”
His sentiments were shared by midfielder, Victor Eletu, who played a sterling 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 next match is against Brazil, with the winner set to finish top of the group and seeded better for the round of 16.
Coach Bosso told cafonline.com that he would 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. Salim 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, Jude 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.