Two –time runners –up Nigeria will confront Ukraine, the United States of America and Qatar in the group phase of the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup finals in Poland. The four countries have been drawn in Group D of the championship unfolding in seven cities in Poland 23rd May – 15th June.
Today’s draw ceremony inside the Gdynia Sports Arena in Gdynia slotted host nation Poland into Group A alongside Colombia, Tahiti and Senegal, while African champions Mali will take on France, Panama and Saudi Arabia in Group E.
Group B has Mexico, Italy, Japan and Ecuador, and Honduras, New Zealand, Uruguay and Norway will make up Group C. Group F is composed of another African flag-bearer South Africa, Argentina, Portugal and Korea Republic.
Nigeria finished as runners –up at the FIFA U20 World Cup in 1989 (lost to Portugal in the final in Saudi Arabia) and in 2005 (lost to Argentina in The Netherlands), and won the bronze medals in the old Soviet Union in 1985 (when the Flying Eagles defeated the host nation on penalties in the third place match).
The Flying Eagles defeated USA in the semi finals of the 1989 finals in Saudi Arabia, when two goals by Mutiu Adepoju settled the encounter and took Nigeria to a first –ever final.
Another of Nigeria’s Group D opponents, Qatar, shocked the world in 1981, when the country reached the final of the competition in Australia, only to lose to then West Germany.
GROUP A: Poland, Colombia, Tahiti, Senegal
GROUP B: Mexico, Italy, Japan, Ecuador
GROUP C: Honduras, New Zealand, Uruguay, Norway
GROUP D: Qatar, Nigeria, Ukraine, USA
GROUP E: Panama, Mali, France, Saudi Arabia
GROUP F: Portugal, Korea Republic, Argentina, South Africa