U20 WC Nigeria v Dominican Republic: Match preview, what to expect, key players, kickoff timePublished: May 20, 2023
The Flying Eagles of Nigeria will kick-start their Fifa U20 World Cup campaign on Sunday against debutant, Dominican Republic.
Nigeria picked up one of the four slots for Africa and qualified for this tournament having come third at the 2023 U20 Africa Cup of Nations.
Dominican Republic qualified having come second at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, thereby picking up one of the four slots meant for the North, Central American and Caribbean nations.
It is the first time the Flying Eagles will be squaring up against the Caribbean country.
Nigeria will be heading to the game as favourite by virtue of their pedigree in the competition. They are participating for the 13th time as opposed to their opponent who are making their debut and they have been runners-up on two occasions.
The two countries will see this fixture as the easiest in the group tie with Brazil and Italy to come next for both sides.
Therefore, both teams will be seeking to get the maximum points.
What to Expect
The Flying Eagles struggled for goals at the U20 Africa Cup of Nations but seem to have found their form in front of goal if their recent results are anything to go by. They scored 6 goals in their last two friendly games in the build-up to this tournament.
Dominican Republic are also a decent attacking side and Ladan Boys must be wary of them, having scored 8 goals in the regional championship
Both teams struggle defensively as shown in recent games of the Flying Eagles and the 6-0 thumping of Dominican Republic by the USA in the CONCACAF U20 Championship final.
Therefore, this should be an attacking game which will be decided on who is more clinical in front of goal.
1. Ibrahim 'Beji Muhamed (Nigeria): He was Nigeria's standout attacker in qualifying for the World Cup with five goals combined in the AFCON and regional tournament.
He also scored one of Nigeria's goals in the 3-3 draw with Colombia in a friendly game.
His explosiveness and directness is a strength for the Flying Eagles attack and Ladan Bosso will be hoping he doesn't disappoint on the world stage.
2. Victor Eletu: The AC Milan U19 midfielder is one of the best legs Nigeria have got and is one of the most exposed having been a regular for the Rossoneri youth side in the Primavera.
He adds composure and grit to Nigeria's midfield. While it remains to be seen if he starts due to his late arrival, he will a worry for the Dominicans whenever he steps on the pitch.
3. Ángel Montes de Oca (Dominican Republic): The young forward scored three goals at the CONCACAF U20 Championship and was named in the Team of the Tournament.
It will be interesting to see how the Nigerian backline copes with him.
2 . Edison Azcona (Dominican Republic): The Inter Miami midfielder played a vital role for Walter Benitez's side at the CONCACAF U20 Championship and was also named in the tournament.
The battle between him and Nnadi is one to keep an eye on in this encounter.
Kickoff time and venue
The match will take place at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza, Argentina, and is scheduled to kick off at 1900 hours Nigerian time.
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