After finishing top of their group, the Golden Eaglets will be on the march again when they will take on Australia in the second round of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. The Junior Socceroos finished as one of the best third-placed teams in the competition with four points, after being drawn in a difficult group that had Germany, Argentina and Mexico.
This will be the sixth time the Eaglets will cross paths with Australia at the U-17 World Cup with the Eaglets emerging victorious in all the last five meetings. Also it is imperative to note that the Eaglets have scored 12 goals in their meetings against Australia, conceding just three. Ahead of Wednesday's midnght clash, completesportsnigeria.com's JAMES AGBEREBI takes a look at the five previous encounters between both teams…
NIGERIA 1-0 AUSTRALIA (CANADA 1987, Quarter-final)
The Golden Eaglets first met Australia at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in a quarter-final clash in Canada in 1987. The Eaglets who were the defending champions then, qualified from a group that had Mexico, Soviet Union and Bolivia. At the end of proceedings, a Christopher Nwosu strike was enough to send the Eaglets to the semi-final.
The team made it to the final but lost on penalty shootout to Soviet Union, after regulation time had ended 1-1.
NIGERIA 2-0 AUSTRALIA (JAPAN 1993, GROUP STAGE)
After missing the 1991 U-17 World Cup through FIFA suspension, the Eaglets made a return at the 1993 edition in Japan. And one of their group opponents was Australia (they were also grouped with Canada and Argentina),who they defeated 2-0, with goals from Wilson Oruma and Nwankwo Kanu. The Eaglets went on to win the tournament, following a 2-1 win against rivals Ghana in the final.
NIGERIA 2-0 AUSTRALIA (ECUADOR 1995, GROUP STAGE)
The next U-17 World Cup in Ecuador 1995 saw the Eaglets and Australia square up against each other in the group stage again. And just like the 1993 edition in Japan, the Eaglets won 2-0. Edward Anyamkygh put the Eaglets a goal up before James Obiora made it 2-0. The Eaglets progressed into the quarter-final but crashed out of the tournament after they lost 2-1 to Oman.
NIGERIA 5-1 AUSTRALIA (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 2001, QUARTER-FINAL)
The biggest ever win recorded by the Eaglets against Australia at the U-17 level was at the quarter-final stage of the 2001 edition in Trinidad and Tobago. The Eaglets ran out 5-1 victors. Goals from Femi Opabunmi (hat-trick), skipper Suleiman Mohammed and Temile Omonigho sealed the emphatic win.
But, unfortunately, the Nigerian lads ended the tournament on a sad note following a 3-0 loss to a Florent Sinama-Pongolle-inspired French side in the final.
NIGERIA 2-1 AUSTRALIA (FINLAND 2003, GROUP STAGE)
In 2003, in Finland, the Eaglets and Australia were grouped together for the third time at the U-17 World Cup. After drawing 1-1 in their opening game against Costa Rica, the Eaglets secured a hard-fought 2-1 win against Australia despite going a goal down. Mikel Obi started the fight back when he made it 1-1 before Ezekiel Bala grabbed the winner.
Sadly, in their last group game, the Eaglets lost 1-0 to Argentina. And eventually they exited the tournament via a toss of the coin after they ended up on the same four points and goals difference with Costa Rica.
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