Last Time Mexico Did Not Qualify For World Cup Golden Eaglets of Nigeria Came, Saw, But Could Not Conquer at Canada in 1987

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Golden Eaglets of Nigeria Came, Saw, But Could Not Conquer at Canada in 1987

Canada is a beautiful country in North America consisting of ten states and three territories. Canada has a population of about 33 million people and has its capital in Ottawa. This beautiful country was home to the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria when the U-16 FIFA tournament was announced to be opened on the 12th of July 1987. The tournament was held in five major cities: Montreal, Saint John (NB), St. John’s (NF). ) and Toronto.

The Golden Eaglets landed in Canada full of confidence, as the defending FIFA U-16 World Cup champions. With a team made up mainly of They drew 1-1 with the Soviet Union in their first match with Albert Eke scoring the equalizer in the 79th minute to share the points, before pushing a resilient Bolivian side aside 3-2 in their second leg with mercurial midfielder Philip Osundo scoring a hat-trick (24th minute, 66th minute and 77th minute). There was a big blow to his confidence with a 1-0 loss against Mexico. But they had qualified for the quarter-finals as runners-up despite the loss to Mexico.

In the quarter-finals, they came up against Australia, and they won 1-0 thanks to a second half goal from Christopher Nwosu to set up an exciting semi-final match with Italy. The semi-final match with Italy ended in similar fashion 1-0, with an individual goal coming once again from Christopher Nwosu. The victory motivated the Golden Eaglets greatly and within reach of a second FIFA U-17 World Cup trophy.

However, the dream was derailed by a determined Soviet Union, who held the Golden Eaglets to a 1-1 draw in regulation. The Russians had taken the lead in the 6th minute through Yuri Nikiforov before Philip Osondu equalized for Nigeria in the 11th minute. The game had to be decided by penalty kicks, and the Soviet Union carried the day with a 4-2 victory, after the Nigerians missed two of their penalty kicks.

This was a tournament that brought out the best in Philip Osondu. The mercurial midfielder produced a remarkable display throughout the tournament, that World Football’s governing body – FIFA, awarded him the “Adidas Golden Ball Award” Peter Ogaba, Fatai Atere, Lemmy Issa and Christopher Nwosu all shone like a million of stars in the competition, despite losing to the Soviet Union in the final. They were tipped as the foundation for the future Super Eagles team, but never made it beyond the junior core. The team was led to the tournament by experienced coach Sebastian Broderick Imasuen.

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