FIFA U20 WC: Nigeria vs Italy – Match preview, H2H, players to watch as Flying Eagles seek QF ticket
In a crucial encounter for both teams, Nigeria U20 and Italy U20 are set to face off in Group D’s matchday two of the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup in Argentina.
The outcome of this match will determine which team secures a spot in the Round of 16.
Nigeria come into the game on the back of a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Dominican Republic.
After falling behind to a well-taken penalty, the Flying Eagles showcased their resilience by equalizing through an own goal and eventually securing the win with Samson Lawal’s clinical finish. Their confidence will be high as they aim to build on their opening success.
Italy, on the other hand, delivered a statement of intent by defeating five-time winners Brazil 3-2 in their Group D opener.
The Europeans dominated the first half, racing to a three-goal lead before withstanding a spirited Brazilian fightback.
This impressive performance highlighted their attacking prowess and determination.
Nigeria face Italy in a highly anticipated Group D encounter on matchday two of the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup in Argentina.
Nigeria are making their 13th appearance at the tournament and reached the final in 1989 and 2005, while Italy have participated seven times before, with their best result being a third-place finish in 2017.
Interestingly, these two teams have met only once before in the history of the U20 World Cup, with Italy prevailing with a 2-0 victory in Chile in 1987, securing their place at the top of Group B and sending Nigeria to an early exit.
Nigeria’s player to watch: Samson Lawal
Samson Lawal, the talented Nigerian midfielder, demonstrated his impact by scoring the winner against the Dominican Republic in their opening match.
Having already impressed with a goal and two assists in Nigeria’s bronze medal-winning campaign at the U20 Africa Cup of Nations, Lawal is expected to be a key figure again as the Flying Eagles take on Italy.
With his ability to find the back of the net and create opportunities for his teammates, Lawal will be crucial to Nigeria’s chances of securing a spot in the Round of 16.
Italy’s player to watch: Cesare Casadei
Italy’s standout performer against Brazil was midfield prodigy Cesare Casadei.
The Chelsea midfielder showcased his immense talent by scoring a brilliant brace and causing havoc for the Brazilian defense.
Regarded as one of the most promising talents of his generation, Casadei’s well-rounded skills and technical ability make him a formidable force in the Italian lineup.
Nigeria must find a way to contain him if they want to stand a chance against Italy.
Competition: FIFA U20 World Cup
Game: Group D, Matchday 2
Fixture: Nigeria U20 vs. Italy U20
Venue: Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza, Provincia de Mendoza
Date: Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Kickoff Time: 7:00 pm (Nigerian time)
With both teams in good form and eager to secure progression, a tightly contested match is anticipated.
However, Nigeria’s determination and Lawal’s impact on the game may give them a slight advantage. A closely fought 2-1 victory for Nigeria U20 is a plausible outcome.