It’s 2010 all over again for Germany and Nigeria.
The powerhouses are back in the final of the 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, after a long journey that will render a single victor in Montreal tomorrow. In 2010, the two met in the final with then hosts Germany lifting the trophy in the aftermath. Now in 2014, the Nigerians are looking for revenge.
The Super Falconets has been an intimidating force throughout the tournament, using early goals to crumble their opponent’s confidence and lying on the physical pressure to render wins. The athletic prowess of these girls is overwhelming, evident especially after their 6-2 defeat of Korea DPR in the semis.
“We’re in the final now and we’re not scared of anyone. If you want to win big things, you need to keep your wits about you on the pitch and have a player who can make the difference,” Nigeria coach Peter Dedevbo told reporters.
And that player to make the difference must be none other than Asisat Oshoala, who impressed all with four goals in the playoffs- a feat accomplished by only two others in a match in tournament history.
But though their confidence and powerful attack has shaken other teams, Germany may prove to be the side to rise up and thwart Nigeria’s plans. The Germans have made few mistakes in Canada; utilizing patience, clean cut passing and calm composure from start to finish to score goals. And, they have proven that they can keep it together no matter the status of the scoreboard, producing goals early in the game or in the final minutes.
They were tried several times over against China PR in group play, ending in a stunning draw that saw both sides exchanging goals till the end result stood at 5-5. The valiant performance from China was unexpected, but Germany matched their opponent’s goal for goal, in the pouring rain, never faltering.
Head coach Maren Meinert is relying on that well- cultivated German perseverance and teamwork to give the Nigerians a run for their money.
“We know that they’re athletic and have unbelievably quick players,” Meinert said in an interview with FIFA. “It’ll come down to us staying true to our style, focusing on working as a team and not too much on moments of individualism.