The Golden Eaglets will take on Mali in the final of this 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile on Sunday. This is the second time the world will witness an all Africa finale after Japan 1993 where Nigeria beat Ghana in the final.
Ahead of Sunday showdown, Completesportsnigeri
1- THIS IS THE SECOND TIME THE EAGLETS ARE MEETING AN AFRICAN TEAM IN THE U-17 W/CUP FINAL
The first time the Golden Eaglets played against an African team in the final of the U-17 World Cup was in Japan 1993, against Ghana. The Eaglets went on to win 2-1, thanks to goals from Wilson Oruma and Peter Anosike.
2- THE EAGLETS HAVE NEVER LOST TO AN AFRICAN TEAM AT THE U-17 W/CUP
The Eaglets have won their three previous encounters against African teams at the U-17 World Cup. Their first African opponent was Guinea in the semi-final of China 1985. After 120 minutes of football, with the score tied at 1-1, the Eaglets went on to win 4-2 on penalty shootout.
Ghana was the next African team to face the Eaglets and that was in the final of Japan'93 edition. The Eaglets triumphed 2-1 against the Ghanaians.
In Trinidad and Tobago 2001, the Golden Eaglets took on Burkina Faso in the semi-final and pipped them 1-0, thanks to a Femi Opabunmi 4th minute penalty.
3- THIS IS THE GOLDEN EAGLETS' 8TH FINAL APPEARANCE, THE MOST BY ANY TEAM AT THIS LEVEL
The final against Mali will see the Eaglets make their 8th final appearance, the most number f appearance by any team. Their seven previous finals are: China 1985, Canada 1987, Japan 1993, Trinidad and Tobago 2001, South Korea 2007, Nigeria 2009 and UAE 2013.
4- EAGLETS WON THE FINAL OF THE U-17 W/CUP ONCE VIA PENALTY SHOOTOUT
The only time the Eaglets have relied on penalty shootout to win the final of the U-17 World Cup was in South Korea 2007 against Spain.
After both teams tied goalless in 120 minutes, the Golden Eaglets emerged 3-0 victors on penalty shootout
5- THE EAGLETS HAVE NEVER DEFENDED THE U-17 W/CUP SUCCESSFULLY
Brazil remains the only team to have defended the U-17 World Cup. After winning their first title in 1997 in Egypt, they retained it in the following edition in 1999, in New Zealand.
For the Eaglets, that is one feat they've not been able to achieve. After winning the maiden edition in China 1985, they lost to Soviet Union on penalties in Canada 1987. In Japan 1993, they claimed their second title but crashed out in the quarter-final after losing 2-1 to Oman in Ecuador 1995.
And in South Korea 2007, they won their third title but failed to defend it despite being the host in 2009. They lost 1-0 to Switzerland in the final.
6- MALI ARE THE ONLY AFRICAN COUNTRY TO HAVE BEATEN A NIGERIAN TEAM AT A FIFA ORGANIZED COMPETITION
Nigeria have played against African teams seven times in FIFA organized tournaments. Out of the seven encounters, Nigeria won six and lost one. The 3-1 loss to Mali at the 1999 U-20 World Cup in Nigeria was the only defeat.
The other six games which Nigeria won again include:
China 1985 U-17 W/Cup S/final: Nigeria 1-1 Guinea, Nigeria won 4-2 on penalties.
Japan 1993 U-17 W/Cup Final: Nigeria 2-1 Ghana.
Trinidad and Tobago 2001 U-17 W/Cup S/Final: Nigeria 1-0 Burkina Faso.
Netherland 2005 U-20 W/Cup S/Final: Nigeria 3-0 Morocco.
Canada 2007 U-20 W/Cup RD of 16: Nigeria 2-1 Zambia.
Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Q/Final: Nigeria 2-0 Cote d'Ivoire).
7- GOLDEN EAGLETS HAVE WON MOST GAMES AFTER TAKING THE LEAD IN AN U-17 W/CUP FINAL
Apart from the South Korea 2007 final against Spain which went into penalty shootout after 120 minutes of football ended goalless, the Eaglets have gone on to win three other finals after taking the lead.
In China 1985, Jonathan Akpoborie opened the scoring for the Eaglets against West Germany in the 4th minute before Victor Igbinoba added the winning goal in the 79th minute.
Against Ghana in Japan 1993, Wilson Oruma headed the Eaglets into the lead in the 3rd minute. Peter Anosike doubled the lead on 75 minutes, for a 2-1 win.
And in UAE 2013, an own goal by Erick Aguirre in the 9th minute, opened the scoring between the Eaglets and Mexico. Two more goals from Kelechi Iheanacho (56th min) and Musa Muhammed (81st min) sealed a comfortable 3-0 win for the Eaglets.
8-THE EAGLETS HAVE NEVER WON THE FINAL OF AN U-17 W/CUP FINAL AFTER CONCEDING FIRST
The Eaglets have never won an U-17 World Cup final after going behind.
In their defeat at the U-17 World Cup final in Canada 1987, they went behind against the Soviet Union after Yuri Nikiforov 6th minute opener. Philip Osondu equalized five minutes later, but the Soviet Union won 4-2 on penalty shootout.
Against France in Trinidad and Tobago 2001, Florent Sinama-Pongolle scored the first goal on 34 minutes. Anthony Le Tallec made it 2-0 on 53rd minute before Samuel Pietre added a third with nine minutes left, to end the game 3-0.
And in Nigeria 2009, Haris Seferovic 63rd minute goal, gave Switzerland a surprise 1-0 win against the Eaglets inside the Abuja National Stadium.
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