In-form Golden Eaglets, who are already through to the round of 16 at the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, will not take things for granted when they play Croatia at the Estadio Francisco Sanchez Rumoroso in Coquimbo, on Friday.
In the build up to the U-17 World Cup, Croatia had beaten Nigeria 3-2 at the Suwon U-17 Invitational Tournament in South Korea, and defender John Lazarus vowed that the Eaglets will not repeat the same mistake, after leading their opponents almost all through the game.
Speaking to nff.com, the Nigerian defender who won the U-13 London International Youth Tournament in 2010, said: “We were unlucky against Croatia in Suwon because we were leading them 2-1 until few minutes to the end of the match.
“They got a penalty to equalize and the winning goal later and that stopped us from winning the tournament.
“We won’t allow that to happen against us on Friday and we will work harder to win”.
Golden Eaglets head coach, Emmanuel Amunike, in a training session on Thursday urged his team to go all out against the Croatians on Friday.
The 44 year old said: “Our match on Friday (against Croatia) is a must win and we have to approach the match with all seriousness.
“We should not get carried away because we have won our first two matches against USA and Chile.
“Don’t forget, it was Croatia that denied us the opportunity of winning the Suwon U-17 Tournament in Korea last month; so it is an opportunity for us to show them we are better than them but unlucky then.”
The team will be without two of its key players, due to suspension, but the coach insisted he has capable replacements for them.
“All of you must be ready to play and that is why we are all here.
“We must remain focused because the match on Friday is very important; we thank God for success in the last two matches but the match on Friday is also very important for us.”
The both games in group A will be played 12:00 midnight, Nigerian time, with all three other teams needing a win to progress to the next round.