Nigeria face Argentina in the Round of 16 at the 3023 FIFA U-20 World Cup. This has evoked memories of the day Nigeria bowed 1-2 to a Lionel Messi Inspired Argentina in 2005 U-20 World Cup final.
That was on July 2, 2005, a Flying Eagles team handled by Coach Samson Siasia with then youngsters Mikel Obi, Taiye Taiwo, Ambrose Vanzekin, Chinedu Ogbuke etc were subdued by two penalties converted by young Lionel Messi in an entertaining final match.
The final match of the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup took place at the Galgenwaard Stadion in Utrecht in front of 24,500 spectators.
Lionel Messi shot Argentina ahead in the 40th minute from the penalty spot. A mazy run by Lionel Messi was upstaged by a reckless tackle by Flying Eagles defender Dele Adeleye.
Messi dusted himself to shoot past Nigeria goalkeeper Ambrose Vanzekin.
In Nigeria’s squad was a talented Mikel Obi who wore the jersey number 9 and caused problems for the Argentine defenders same way Messi tormented the Nigerian defenders at the other end.
Nigeria equalized in the 53rd minute through a Chinedu Ogbuke header but the Flying Eagles fightback fell flat when Referee Terje Hauge from Norway awarded Argentina a second penalty which Lionel Messi stepped forward to score and break Nigerian hearts as it finished 2-1 in favour of Argentina.
Messi was named Player of the tournament with Nigeria’s Mikel Obi and Taiye Taiwo taking the silver ball and bronze ball respectively.
RENEWED RIVALRY ON ARGENTINE SOIL
Memories of that defeat and many others in different categories are fresh in the mind of Nigerians ahead of the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup Round of 16 clash on May 31, 2023.
This time on Argentine soil, a renewed rivalry will dominate previews as Nigeria prepare to face the South Americans.
The big question is, Can Ladan Bosso tutored Flying Eagles team upset Argentina or will the South Americans extend their dominance in this fixture as contained in the HISTORY BOOK.