Nigeria`s U-20 Women`s team the Falconets face New ZeaLand in tomorrows at the Moncton Stadium with coach Peter Dedevbo aiming to lift the trophy.
“All i want is the trophy and my girls are doing everything possible to acheive our target.”
The West Africans have a history of doing well in this event having finished third in 2012, second in 2010, and reaching the quarterfinals in 2008, 2006, and 2004.
So just making it to the knockout stage at this event will not really be viewed as a success for the team who is looking to take that final step and win their first title.
They come out of a fairly balanced group that saw the drama go down to the final round of games with every team in Group C picking up 2 points.
Nigeria were able to top the group thanks to an opening round draw against Mexico followed by a pair of 2-1 wins over South Korea and England.
Nigeria is a well organized team that can make life hard for opponents with their athleticism and the fact that they have a wide variety of scoring threats in both the attack and the midfield.
One of those threats will have a familiar name to Toronto FC fans as the Nigerian squad features Courtney Dike, the younger sister of TFC forward Bright Dike. She is one of five different players who scored a goal for Nigeria in the group stage which just highlights their balanced attack.
They have already proven they can grind out close results in this event and that is a skill that they will need in the knockout rounds. The good news for Nigeria is that they could be in position to make another deep run in the event given that their side of the draw seems to be very navigable for them with the United States being the biggest potential hurdle on the way to the final.
New Zealand made it to the knockout round from arguably the weakest group in the event. France were the class of that group but the kiwis had enough about them to finish ahead of Paraguay and Costa Rica thanks to 2-0 and 3-0 wins over each country respectively.
The only stumble along the way was a crushing 4-0 defeat against France that really showed the difference in quality between this New Zealand team and the top teams in this competition.
If the Kiwis are going to make it any further in this event they are going to need to find another level of play than what they showed throughout Group D play. They won’t have a lot of battle testing to call on though as they had the easiest road of anyone (other than the hosts) to qualify for this event out of Oceania and a relatively easy group.
New Zealand have been regulars in this event ever since Australia made the move out of the confederation but this is their first appearance in the knockout rounds. At this point going any further would be a cherry on top of an already successful tournament for this side.
North Korea Vs United States Sat,5pm
Germany Vs Canada Sat, 8pm
Nigeria Vs New Zealand Sun, 4pm
France Vs South Korea Sun, 7pm