Nigeria’s U-20 boys, Flying Eagles, have been fully schooled on best practices and moves and gestures to avoid on field at the FIFA U20 World Cup finals opening in Poland on Thursday.
Immediately after the FIFA arrival meeting, traditionally held to welcome participating teams to the FIFA World Cup, FIFA referee instructor Jerome Damon took the players and officials on the new laws of the game, which would hold sway at the finals. Damon, a South African, is a former FIFA referee.
Following their arrival in Poland on Sunday and the first training on Monday, concentration is now fully on Friday’s opening match of Group D against Qatar at the 15,300 –capacity Tychy Stadium in the Slask region of Poland.
Described as one of the most beautiful sports facilities in the Slask region and home to first division club, GKS Tychy, the Tychy Stadium was one of the six venues that hosted the UEFA European U21 Championship in 2017. It was opened in July 2015.
The Qatar U20 team shocked the football world when it reached the final of the FIFA U20 World Cup (then known as FIFA World Youth Championship) in Australia in 1981. The country lost 0-4 to Germany in the final.
Nigeria first appeared at the FIFA U20 World Cup in 1983 in Mexico, defeating then Soviet Union 1-0, losing 0-3 to Brazil and drawing 0-0 with the Netherlands to crash out at group stage.
The Flying Eagles took the bronze medals in 1985 at the expense of hosts, Soviet Union (after penalty shootout) and reached the final in 1989, losing 0-2 to Portugal. Nigeria again reached the final in 2005, but was undone by two penalties taken by Lionel Messi in a 2-1 defeat.