Raul Gutierrez’s boys will be out to halt the Nigerians juggernaut in Abu Dhabi as they aim to defend their title successfully
Rodriguez, Teran, Almanza, Wbias
Hernandez, Aguirre, Rivas, , Ochoa
Nwakali, Muhammed, Bello, Okon
Idowu, Ezeh, Alfa, Yahaya
The stage is set for three-time World U17 champions, Nigeria and the reigning world champions, Mexico to battle it out for the 15th Fifa U17 World Cup diadem at the United Arab Emirates’ football cathedral - the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
This much awaited clash will be the second time that the teams have faced each other at this year’s tournament, with both countries emerging from the same Goup F.
Mexico’s hopes of winning back to back title seems to have faded in thin air when the Garba Manu boys humiliated them 6-1 in their opening match with Kelechi Iheanacho leading the rout in Al Ain, but Gutierrez’s men have recovered superbly to crush subsequent opponents for a place in Friday’s final tipped to be a closely contested affair.
Setting the record of a seventh appearance in the cadet World Cup, Nigeria will be aiming for a record fourth title after failing to achieve the feat when they hosted the championship four years back.
The Golden Eaglets are favorites to win based on two important facts: they are yet to be beaten in the competition, and they boast of the most prolific attack (23 goals in 6 games) with Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi and Musa Yahaya leading the frontline. El Tri, though, have found the net with less frequency but have what it takes to stun the Africans due to their compactness and flair that saw them breeze past Brazil and Tournament.
The game is expected to kick-off 5pm Nigeria time and will witness the return of Nigeria’s vice captain, Isaac Success who has missed four of his side’s game due to a hamstring injury.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Nigeria remain unbeaten in six matches, winning five times and playing just a draw.
- Mexico have won the title twice
Nigeria handed the Mexicans their heaviest defeat in U17 World Cup history. They won 6-1 at the Khalifa International Stadium
- Kelechi Iheanacho (pictured) scored four goals against Mexico in the group stage
- El Tri’s only victory versus Nigeria came in the first round of the Canada 1987 world cup. It ended 1-0.
- The Golden Eaglets have appeared five times in the final, winning three