John Obuh’s men continue their quest for the World Youth Championship title with a second round showdown against Juan Verzeri’s side in Istanbul
For the second time in 12 days, Nigeria will square up against Uruguay – this time at youth level as both sides battle for a last eight spot at the Fifa World Youth Championship billed for the Ali Sami Yen Arena.
Ali Sami Yen Arena was the same ground the Flying Eagles defeated Korea Republic to finish runners-up behind Portugal in Group B. Although, this will be the first time both countries will be meeting at this level of football, the West Africans will be hoping to prove their superiority over their South American opponents who also finished as runners-up in Group F.
Interestingly, both teams share same peculiarities. First, the Flying Eagles finished third at the African Youth Championship in Algeria in April while Uruguay placed third in the South American version of the qualifiers. Also, both teams started Turkey 2013 on a losing note before winning their last two group games to reach the knock out stage of the competition.
Nicolas Lopez who shone like a million stars in Uruguay’s 4-0 whitewash of Uzbekistan will be heavily relied on by coach Juan Verzeri to punish the Nigerian defence that has let in three goals in three games with Defensor SC of Uruguay’s midfield maestro, Gino Acevedo expected to dictate proceedings from the middle.
The Nigerians on their own part are a great attacking side by all standards putting in six goals past opposing goalkeepers in three matches. With Abdul Ajagun, Kayode Olarenwaju and Aminu Umar in the right frame of mind, then the Gaston Silva and Guillermo Varela-anchored defence are in for a tough time despite boasting of the best defensive records so far in the tournament.
Should Nigeria scale through, they will set up a potential cracker with the winner between Spain and Mexico in one of the quarter final games billed for Bursa.