U20 WC Italy v Nigeria: Match preview, what to expect, key players, kickoff time and venue

Published: May 23, 2023
U20 WC Italy v Nigeria: Match preview, what to expect, key players, kickoff time and venue

The Flying Eagles will be facing  Italy in their second group game of the ongoing Fifa U20 World Cup on Wednesday. 

Nigeria came from a goal down to get the better of debutant, Dominican Republic 2-1 in the first match.

Italy on the other hand also earned the three maximum points in their first match against one of the tournament's favourites, Brazil, beating them 3-2 in a thrilling encounter.


​Match Preview

It is the second time both sides will be meeting at the FIFA U20 World Cup. 


The last and only meeting between Nigeria and Italy was at the 1987 edition where the Gli Azzurrini defeated Nigeria by 2-0.


Italy will be heading to the game as the favourite by virtue of beating one of the tournament's favourites, Brazil and the exposure of their players in comparison to that of Nigeria.


A win for either side will guarantee a place in the round of 16 which should make this game more intriguing.

What to Expect


With both teams scoring a combined 5 goals in their opening games, this should be an exciting encounter.


The Brazilians exposed the fact that the Italians' defence could be breached and one expects the Flying Eagles' attack to give the Italians a tough game and capitalize on their weaknesses.

The Flying Eagles' defence will also be properly tested this time around by the young Italians who scored 3 goals against Brazil.

It should be an open game.


Key Players 


1. Jude Sunday: The winger was Nigeria's best player against Dominican Republic. He was explosive, cutting off from his weaker left foot to his right foot to create danger and coach Ladan Bosso will be hoping he can pick it up from where he left off against the Dominicans


2. Victor Eletu: The AC Milan U19 midfielder was not given enough time to impress in Nigeria's opening match after entering the game as a substitute.


While it remains to be seen whether he will get the nod to start, he is one of Nigeria's best legs and the Italians will have to look out for him whenever he comes on the pitch.

3 . Cesare Casadai: The midfielder was the Man of the Match against Brazil, scoring a brace and providing an assist.


Nigeria will have to keep an eye on him so that he doesn't replicate his heroics against Brazil.


4. Simone Pafundi: The young Udinese attacking midfielder is one of the key players for Gli Azzurrini.


He has made 8 appearances in the Serie A this season which is a testament to his exceptional talent.

He served as one of the Italians' two strikers in the first game and his quality could make the difference between both sides if his threat is not nullified. Aged 17, he has already been capped by Italy at senior level.

Kickoff time and venue

The match will take place at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza, Argentina.

The match is expected to kick off at 1900 hours Nigerian time.



Abdulkareem Abdulhamid



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