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Nigeria and the FIFA U20 World Cup quarter-finals : A history

Nigeria and the FIFA U20 World Cup quarter-finals : A history

How has the Flying Eagles fared at this stage of the biennial global football showpiece

Nigeria vs South Korea showdown

As Nigeria get set to take on South Korea in Sunday’s 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup quarter-final in Argentina, Soccernet.ng examines how Nigeria U20 have in the competition’s last eight in the past.

September 1, 1985: Mexico 1-2 Nigeria

This is the first time the Flying Eagles will reach the knockout phase of the FIFA U20 World Cup.

Incidentally, the team went ahead to pick a medal in the former Soviet Union. Having finished second in Group C, Paul Hamilton’s side set up a quarter-final date with the Mexicans.

In the keenly-contested fixture at the Vladimir Lenin Stadium, Baku, the West Africans took a 33rd minute through midfield whiz Augustine Igbinabaro, two minutes later, Monday Odiaka doubled the advantage as they took a two-goal lead into the half-time break.

Not willing to go down without a fight, El Tri stepped up their game in the second-half before reducing the deficit in the 50th minute after Victor Medina beat goalkeeper Alloy Agu from close range.

Nigeria ultimately progress to the semi-final but bowed 2-0 to Brazil before picking bronze at the expense of hosts Soviet Union.

February 25, 1989: Soviet Union 4–4 (3-5 on pen) Nigeria

Till date, this match is dubbed as one of Nigeria’s most significant wins in football history.

The ‘Miracle of Damman’ created a footballing record as the Flying Eagles became the first team to come back from four goals down to equalize and then go on to win a FIFA World Cup match at any level.

The Soviet Union raced to a four-goal lead within 46 minutes thanks to Sergei Kiriakov’s double in the 30th and 38th minutes respectively with further goals from Bakhva Tedeev and Oleg Salenko.

With 30 minutes to full-time, Nigeria responded through a brace from Christopher Ohenhen in the 61st and 75th minutes while Samuel Elijah added the third goal in the 83rd minute before the captain Nduka Ugbade completed the remarkable comeback with a goal in the 84th minute to end the game in a draw.

Nigeria won the match on penalties as Ohenhen, Peter Ogaba, Mutiu Adepoju, Sam Elijah and Michael Onyemachara all converted their kick.

Sadly, Tunde Disu’s side returned home with a silver medal after losing to Portugal in the final.

April 18, 1999: Mali 3-1 Nigeria 

It took the country a decade to return to this stage – this time as hosts.

Having upstaged the Republic of Ireland in the Round of 16, the Flying Eagles set up a date with African foes, Mali.

In the ill-fated outing at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium, Mamadou Bagayoko put the Malians ahead after one minute but Hashimu Garba restored parity in the 17th minute.

Further goals from Mahamadou Diarra and Bagayoko ensured that Thijs Libregts’ Nigeria crashed out with heads bowed low.

June 25, 2005: Nigeria 1–1 (10-9 on pen) Netherlands

In another close attempt to win the U20 World Cup, Nigeria paired hosts Netherlands in the last four after breezing past Ukraine in the Round of 16.

Samson Siasia’s boys got off to a flying start at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion, Kerkrade with John Owoeri put them ahead in the opening seconds.

Ron Peter Vlaar levelled matters for the hosts in 46th minute, nevertheless, both teams were separated by kicks from the penalty spots after 120 minutes of action.

During the tension-soaked penalty kicks, Collins John missed the decisive kick after Taiye Taiwo had converted his.

July 15, 2007: Chile 4-0 Nigeria

With scores 0-0 after 90 minutes inside Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Chile struck for four goals in extra time for a 4-0 victory over Nigeria and a place in the semi-finals at the 2007 U20 World Cup.

Substitute Nicolas Grondona started it with a disputed goal six minutes into extra time, then Mauricio Isla added a goal on a penalty in the 114th minute and another on a clear break in the 118th before Mathias Vidangossy got the last one in the 122nd.

August 14, 2011: France 3-2 Nigeria

Handled by the John Obuh, Nigeria bowed 3-2 to France in the last 8 of Colombia 2011.

A brace from Alexandre Lacazette plus a strike from Gueïda Fofana downed the Flying Eagles inside Estadio Pascual Guerrero, Cali.

Consequently, the Nigeria crashed out of the competition but won the Fair Play Award as consolation.

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