It is no longer new to the globe that Nigeria is the most successful footballing nation when the question of the FIFA U17 World Cup is raised. The Golden Eaglets’ (Nigeria U17 team) total of five World Cup trophies places the country top on the list of nations that have more U17 World Cup titles. However, the road to winning a FIFA World Cup trophy is never an easy ride as the Eaglets have had to put up exceptional displays in World Cup matches.
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The 2009 FIFA U17 World Cup hosted in Nigeria saw the Golden Eaglets prove to the world in their opening game that their successful history in the tournament is a result of extreme hard work and determination. Pitched alongside European champions, Germany, in the Group A of the competition, the world was expectant of a payback from the German side that had been knocked out by the Nigerian U17 team (Nigeria 3-1 Germany) in the semi-final of the 2007 edition in Korea.
An unsettled Golden Eaglets side conceded two goals to the Germans in the first half, after Lennart Thy put the Germans ahead in the 21st minute before Shkodran Mustafi doubled the lead for the Europeans in the 39th minute, to leave the first half score at 2-0 in favour of the Germans. It took the Germans just two minutes after the halftime break for Mario Goetze to score a third in the 47th minute. With the scores now at 0-3 in favour of Germany, the chances of the Nigerians staging a comeback was slim, and it all looked as if the Germans had gotten their payback.
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A 54th minute penalty converted by Nigerian forward, Stanley Okoro, woke the hope of Nigerian fans at the National Stadium, Abuja, (now Moshood Abiola National Stadium) on October 24, 2009. Five minutes later, Nigerian defender, Kenneth Omeruo, reduced the goal deficit to just one after scoring in the 59th minute to put the scoreline at 2-3. An Edafe Egbedi goal in the 61st minute was all Nigeria needed to complete the comeback in the match to the surprise of the entire globe watching the game. Nigeria pressed on for a fourth especially with huge support from the home crowd but the game ended at 3-3. Nigeria would go ahead to reach the final of the tournament and finish second after suffering a 1-0 loss at the hands of the Switzerland national U17 side in the final.
Featured Image Source: FIFA
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