Flying Eagles were bundled out of the Fifa Under-20 World Championship in New Zealand after losing 1-0 in the round of 16 to Germany this morning.
There was clearly a winner as the Germans dominated the match from start to finish.
The Germans saw off the challenge of the clueless Flying Eagles to book a meeting with Mali in the quarter-final of the competition thanks to the slim win at the Christchurch Stadium.
Germany were the first to go close when Julian Weigl got in behind the Nigerian defence, but he could not turn the ball home.
The likes of Mustapha Abdullahi, Wilfred Ndidi, Zaharadeen Bello, Kingsley Sokari and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi struggled to find their rhythm for Nigeria.
With the game almost in the 20-minute mark, the Africans were a goal down.
After a rare mistake by Kingsley Sokari, the final pass found Levin Oztunali at the far side of the box, and his well-controlled, side-footed drive went beyond the reach of goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo.
Nigeria were struggling to create anything of note and only a free-kick from Musa Muhammed forced the lonely figure of Marvin Schwäbe into a save.
After Bernard Bulbwa and his fellow forwards looked like they were starting to make headway, Enaholo was forced into an impressive stop from Hany Mukhtar’s header.
The play from Germany was next level, though Stendera couldn’t take advantage of some slick passing and movement from Julian Brandt, Bauer and Mukhtar. Enaholo again made the stop, keeping Nigeria in with as the half-time whistle sounded.
Isaac Success replaced Saviour Godwin early in the second half, with Manu Garba looking to find a way through the German resistance.
The opening exchanges of the second 45 were very even, with neither side able to create a clear-cut chance – Frank Wormuths side still looked the more threatening, however.
That shone through on the hour mark when öztunali went on a mazy run and picked out Mukhtar, though his tame effort was hooked off the line.
Niklas Stark had been a threat from set-pieces all evening and he nearly headed home a second, only for Enaholo to pressure him into putting his effort off target.
Bulbwa, again, looked to be Nigeria’s best outlet with his pace and he was beginning to get the better of his opposite number, but he couldn’t find the crucial final ball needed to level the scoring.
Taiwo Awoniyi finally broke through the German defence with a long ball over the top. Surprisingly, however, he couldn’t break away from the recovering Marc-Oliver Kempf, who showed a great turn of pace to get back and make the tackle. Nigeria’s late pressure all in vain.
Despite their best attempts to force an equaliser and pull level with the opposition, Nigeria just could not get the goal they needed.
Success almost provided that moment, though it curled just wide of the post. Abdullahi Mustapha had to make a vital interception at the other end, preventing Julian Weigl from sealing the win.
The final whistle sounded and Germany had secured their place in the quarter-finals, though Nigeria can still hold their heads high after a fine performance and tournament.
Flying Eagles Starters Vs Germany U20: Joshua Enaholo, Musa Mohammed (c), Mustapha Abdullahi, Zaharadeen Bello, Wilfred Ndidi, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Idowu Akinjide, Bernard Bulbwa, Kingsley Sokari, Godwin Saviour, Taiwo Awoniyi
Reserves: Dele Alampasu, Ojo Olorunleke, Izu Omego, Chidiebere Nwakali, Ifeanyi Matthew, Musa Yahaya, Kelechi Iheanacho, Chidera Ezeh, Isaac Success, Moses Simon
All Nigeria Soccer – culled from http://www.allnigeriasoccer.com/read_news.php?nid=15163