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FIFA U17 World Cup: Nigeria battles Sweden for final ticket

Kick off time for the highly anticipated clash is 5.00 p.m. Nigerian time.

Going into the Sweden game, Nigeria will be oozing with confidence as the country has never lost a FIFA U-17 World Cup semi-final, and boasts a great record against European sides since the tournament was launched 28 years ago.

The list of officials for the match is completed with his two compatriots, Allesandro Rocha and Marcelo Van Grasse.

The two sides met at the group stage.

Already FIFA has picked Brazilian Referee Heber Roberto Lopes who was in charge of Golden Eaglets’ 4-1 thrashing of Iran in the second round as the arbiter for Tuesday’s semi-final duel.

The Eaglets, who are Africa’s sole surviving team in the competition, are not only carrying the aspirations of a country but a continent as a whole. And according to the coach of the Nigerian team, his lads are up to the task and will deliver the needed result in Tuesday’s semi-final battle at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai.

After playing a pulsating 3-3 draw in their first match against Sweden in the group stage, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria have a chance to confirm their superiority over their Scandinavian rivals as both teams battle in the semi-final of the ongoing FIFA U17 World Cup in the United Emirates.

“As an interim coach in 2007, when we were about leaving Nigeria for the World Cup in Korea, I told Nigerians that it’s the cup or nothing and I still maintain the same thing now because this team has come a long way and we cannot afford to fail,” he explained.

Fully aware that Tuesday’s duel is a winner takes all, Coach Manu insisted that he has absolute confidence his players and that they have strong mental ability to deal with whatever the Swedes throw at them.

Victory for the Nigerian lads will take them closer to making history; as Brazil, the only other country to have won the tournament three times, has already been eliminated. So, the road is clear for the Eaglets to set the record of the most wins in the cadet tournament.

“Of course, I know that whatever happens is ordained by God, so I have no fear about Sweden.”

“All my life, I have never entertained any fear and I don’t even know what fear means,” Coach Manu Garba said in Monday’s pre-match press conference.

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