2019 FIFA U20 World Cup: Flying Eagles snag round-of-16 place with a 1-1 draw against Ukraine but still fail to convince

The Flying Eagles have failed to convince at the 2019 U20 World Cup and no one is enthused about them anymore.

The Flying Eagles progressed to the round of 16 of the U20 World Cup as one of the best losers (Getty Images)

After a win and a loss in their first two games, Paul Aigbogun boys needed every point they could get for a place in the round of 16. 

But they were dominated for most parts of the game by Ukraine who had already secured a place in the round of 16. 

The Flying Eagles of Nigeria were dominated and played off the park by Ukraine who congested the midfield and had most of the possession. 

The Flying Eagles were left with nothing in the first half, as they chased Ukraine all through. To compound Nigeria’s woes, Nigerian goalkeeper Olawale Oremade left his area but completely lost the ball which fell to Danylo Sikan to finish off with a header in the 30th minute. 

The Flying Eagles got a chance to get back into the game but Ukrainian goalkeeper Andrey Lunin saved Muhamed Tijani’s penalty after a sharp dive to his left. 

The Flying Eagles got a VAR-assisted penalty just immediately after the restarted and Tijani didn’t make any mistake this time, converting to bring Nigeria level. 

What followed after was a litany of aimless football which ended 1-1. 

With four points in three games, the Flying Eagles finished third in Group D but managed to book a place in the round of 16 as one of the best third-placed teams. 

Although the Flying Eagles went to Poland without any expectations, they have still managed to fall short. It is without a doubt a below par team that has drained Nigerians of the little enthusiasm they had before the U20 World Cup. 

Despite over two years in charge of the squad, Aigbogun’s team remains disjointed, disorganised and without a clear identity. It is disappointing that with the time and resources that were available to Aigbogun, this was what he could come up with. 

Their journey at the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup continues with a second round tie but no one is enthused about them anymore. They might ride their luck further or even go out in the next round, no one cares at this point, this Nigeria's U20 squad is already a failed project.

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