Three-time champions, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria, will, on Tuesday, battle a known foe, Sweden, in their semi final clash at the ongoing UAE 2013 Under-17 World Cup.
So far, Sweden have enjoyed a dazzling run of form at the tournament, with one of their finest achievements being a hard fought 3-3 draw against the Eaglets when the two sides met in Group F.
But there can be no draws this time around, and the rivals will finally get to see who is the better side in their battle to book a place in the final.
The Swedes will be looking to neutralize Nigeria’s attacking threat while taking whatever chances come their way, just as they did at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Dubai.
Despite only qualifying from the group stage as one of the best-ranked third-placed teams, they went on to knock out Japan before overturning a deficit against Honduras to win 2-1.
Nigeria’s offensive flair should be on full display.
Coach Manu Garba has selected the goal-hungry duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Musa Yahaya alongside Taiwo Awoniyi, who proved himself an excellent replacement for injured Isaac Success, when he knocked in a brace against Uruguay in the quarter-finals.
In his pre-match interview, Garba said: “I want to congratulate the players for the way they performed against Uruguay and the Swedish team should watch out for us come Tuesday.
“We have learned a lot from the last time we played and this time we have to be ready for them.”
On his part, Sweden’s Coach, Roland Larsson, said: “When we came to UAE, our goal was to reach the Round of 16, but we’ve played excellent football and it has taken us even further.
“We are going to try our hardest to get to the final.
“It’s not impossible.
“We have really enjoyed our time here and at the end of the day we’ll be delighted whatever happens.
“So we have nothing to lose.”
The match kicks off by 5pm Nigerian time at the Rashid Stadium, Dubai.