Flying Eagles out of U-20 World Cup, beaten 0-1 by Germany
Germany moved through to the quarterfinals of the Fifa Under-20 World Cup after a hard-fought 1-0 round of 16 victory over Nigeria on Thursday night.
Germany, who have played all four of their matches at the tournament in Christchurch, will remain in the city for a last-eight clash with Mali on Sunday afternoon.
A 19th minute strike from German midfielder Levin Oeztunali proved the difference in front of 5288 fans at AMI Stadium.
Germany are one of the favourites to claim the title but had to work hard to overcome a plucky Nigerian side who defended stoutly throughout the game.
Nigeria looked far more lively on attack in the second half but were unable to translate their promising runs into clear-cut chances.
The Germans have only conceded two goals during the tournament and were again composed at the back, keeping Nigeria’s talented attackers at bay.
Nigerian coach Manu Garba stuck with the players who had done the job for him in group play. Several players, who are in the academies of some of Europe’s top clubs, were on the bench, barely having been used in the pool stage.
It was a special victory for German captain Kevin Akpoguma, who worked tirelessly. Akpoguma has Nigerian ancestry through his father Kelvin, who was in the crowd and cheering for both nations.
Germany had the better of the opening 20 minutes and were able to capitalise on their dominance. Midfielder Marc Stendera outmuscled Nigeria’s Kingsley Sokari in the tackle, winning possession before sending the ball out to Oeztunali who delivered a rocket into the right of the goal to open the scoring.
Nigeria’s best chance of the first half came when Taiwo Awoniyi played the ball across the box nicely, but Saviour Godwin was unable to get a touch and test German goalkeeper Marvin Scwaebe.
Germany produced a frantic end to the first half, and could have easily gone in with an even bigger advantage, but Nigeria had goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo to thank after he pulled off several important saves to keep his side in the game.
Germany would have been disappointed not to go into the break up by more at halftime after having 65 per cent of possession, outshooting Nigeria 11-1 and landing five attempts on target.
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