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U-17 World Cup: Eaglets out to prove pedigree against Netherlands


The Golden Eaglets have drawn  The Netherlands for their Round of 16 clash at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.



The five-time champions staged two impressive comebacks to top Group B, defeating Hungary 4-2 and Ecuador 3-2, losing 2-1 to Australia.



Both of Nigeria’s last-minute triumphs came at Goiania’s Estadio Olimpico, where  Wednesday’s match against The Netherlands  would be played.



The Netherlands lost their first two Group D matches in Brazil by a combined score of 6-1. Down but far from out, the European champions pummelled USA 4-0 in their final group fixture to burst through. The Oranje finished fourth in the ranking of third-placed teams.



The Nigerian team go into the Round of 16 games banking on the goalscoring prowess of forward Ibrahim Sa’id, who is the only player to have scored a hat-trick in Brazil, and team captain Samson Tijani, who has two goals.



Despite falling 2-1 to Australia in their Group B closer, the Nigerian players said they are unfazed in their bid to lift the trophy.



Speaking on the target of the Eaglets at the tournament, Sai’d said, “We want to bring this World Cup back to Nigeria.”



On his part, Tijani said losing to Australia would not stop the Nigerian team from being victorious in their remaining matches in the tournament.



He said, “Knowing what our country has worked for and that they are behind us gives us more confidence to push harder. So, we’ll keep pushing.



“We will look to have the initiative from the beginning against the Netherlands. This is the knockout stage and falling behind at any stage could be tricky. I know this team and these players possess the effort to keep fighting back, no matter the situation.”



The Round of 16 also has Angola playing against South Korea, Spain vs Senegal, Japan vs Mexico, Brazil vs Chile, France vs Australia, Ecuador vs Italy and Paraguay battling Argentina.



The winner between Eaglets and Oranje would face the winner of the game between Paraguay and Argentina in the quarter-final.
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