Nigeria’s Flying Eagles have now arrived in the city of San Juan ahead of Wednesday’s dreaded contest with hosts Argentina in the Round of 16 of the ongoing FIFA U20 World Cup (U20WC).
The team were billed to leave La Plata – where they were defeated by Brazil on Saturday – for their next destination on Monday morning but a reported case of earthquake in the city prevented the trip from happening although the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) tacitly expressed their disapproval with having not been informed of the reason.
Players and officials of the 🇳🇬Flying Eagles have finally settled in at San Juan, venue of the RD 1️⃣6️⃣ game with 🇦🇷Argentina.— The NFF 🇳🇬 (@thenff) May 30, 2023
The team was to depart Buenos Aires for San Juan by 9am Monday morning but the flight was delayed until 6pm.
No explanation was given for the delay pic.twitter.com/yhvEzlTApN
The Nigeria U20s finished third in Group D with six points behind group winners Brazil and second placed Italy but advanced to the second round as the best third placed team.
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They will now have to negotiate a very tricky test against tournament’s record winners Argentina in the round of sixteen on Wednesday.
While Nigeria finished third in their group, Argentina finished at the summit of Group A, amassing maximum nine points from their three group games after having defeated Uzbekistan, Guatemala and New Zealand.
The Flying Eagles will be bidding for their first ever win over Argentina at the U20 World Cup level when both teams meet at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, San Juan. The most famous encounter between both sides was the 2005 U20 World Cup final in Holland which saw Lionel Messi and John Mikel Obi starting.
Ladan Bosso’s men will welcome centre back Benjamin Fredrick for the game after the Nasarawa United defender was rested as a precautionary measure in the game against Brazil. He is also expected to make some decisions at right back and in the attack.
For Argentina head coach Javier Mascherano, he faces a dilemma on whether or not to recall some of his stars that he rested in their final group game against New Zealand with the largely second string side running out 5-0 winners.