Argentina U20 and Nigeria U20 are set to face each other in the round of 16 of the FIFA U20 World Cup, which will take place at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario on Wednesday.
As the host nation, Argentina has its sights firmly set on capturing a record-breaking seventh title. They had a flawless performance in the group stage, topping Group A.
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In their final group stage match, Argentina delivered an impressive 5-0 triumph over New Zealand, with Alejo Véliz finding the back of the net in the 86th minute, bringing his total goals for the tournament to three. Although Tomás Avilés received a red card in the game against Guatemala, he will be eligible for selection once again.
Nigeria U20 finished in third place in Group D with six points, the same as Italy who finished in second. However, the African team secured their place in the knockout stage as the best third-placed team from the group stage. They have reached the final of the competition twice in the past, finishing as runners-up.
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Argentina Under-20 vs Nigeria Under-20 match preview
After impressing in the group stage with three wins, Argentina’s Under-20 team will face Nigeria’s Under-20 team in the 2023 Under-20 World Cup round of 16 at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, on Wednesday.
Argentina’s young squad finished at the top of Group A, while Nigeria secured their place in the knockout rounds as one of the best third-placed teams.
Argentina quickly secured their spot in the knockout stage after scoring five goals and conceding only once against Uzbekistan and Guatemala in Group A. Even in their final group match against New Zealand, which held no significance for Argentina’s qualification, they looked strong.
Alongside the USA, Argentina is one of just two teams to maintain a perfect winning record in the group stage. They have scored 10 goals, second only to Ecuador, who scored nine in a single game against Fiji, for a total of 11 goals.
With a remarkable history of winning the Under-20 World Cup six times between 1995 and 2007, Argentina’s young talents are eager to revive the country’s previous success at the youth level. Since their last triumph 16 years ago, the team has only managed to reach the quarter-finals.
Similarly, Nigeria began their campaign for a maiden Under-20 World Cup title with consecutive victories. They beat the Dominican Republic and Italy, placing them at the top of Group D ahead of Italy and Brazil. However, their hopes of defeating Brazil in the final group match were dashed.
Nigeria, who finished in third place at the 2023 Under-20 African Cup of Nations, were runners-up in the Under-20 World Cup in 1989 and 2005. However, in their last three appearances in 2013, 2015, and 2019, they were eliminated in the round of 16.
Interestingly, Nigeria’s only previous encounter with Argentina at the Under-20 level took place in the 2005 final. Argentina emerged victorious with a 2-1 win, thanks to two Lionel Messi penalties. The winners of Wednesday’s match will play against either Ecuador or South Korea in the quarter-final.
Argentina Under-20 possible starting lineup:
Gomes Gerth; Giay, Aviles, Gomez, Barco; Infantino, Perrone; Gauto, Carboni, Soule; Veliz
Nigeria Under-20 possible starting lineup:
Aniagboso; Bameyi, Fredrick, Ogwuche, Agbalaka; Eletu, Daga; Emmanuel, S. Lawal, Jude; S. F. Lawal
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Argentina Under-20 vs Nigeria Under-20 prediction
Following their recent defeat to Brazil, Nigeria face another tough South American challenge on Wednesday, while Argentina continue their pursuit of global supremacy.
While coach Javier Mascherano’s team may not have big stars, the current rising stars of the host nation have the potential to guide their team to a comfortable victory in the round of 16.
Prediction: Argentina U20 2-1 Nigeria U20
Date, kick-off time, venue
The FIFA World Cup Under-20 round of 16 match between Argentina and Nigeria will be played at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario and will kick off at 22:00 Nigerian time.