Flashy Nigeria pushes Scotland to the brink

No Comments » July 6th, 2007 posted by // Categories: Favorite Articles

Scotland, in many ways the sentimental favourites of the Victoria-based Group F at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, has almost been eradicated from the tournament. The Scots, winless in two games, were dropped 2-0 Wednesday by undefeated Nigeria before a capacity crowd at Royal Athletic Park.

The result sets up a winner-take-all battle for Group F between Japan and Nigeria on Saturday, with the group champion getting to stay in the B.C. capital to host the Group E runner-up in the round of 16 playoffs next Wednesday. The second-place finisher between Nigeria and Japan must travel across the country to Ottawa to play the ensconced Group E winner at Frank Clair Stadium, which likely will be defending champion Argentina.

The Scots must now beat Costa Rica, also winless in Group F, on Saturday in Burnaby, B.C., then hope to latch on to one of four spots into the Sweet Sixteen that will go to the best third-place teams among the six groups.

Against Scotland, Ezekiel Bala gave Nigeria a 1-0 lead at 49 minutes, sending the ball into the net through the legs of goalkeeper Andrew McNeil.

That’s the last thing the beleaguered McNeil needed after being savaged in the Scottish media for his miscues that led to two Japanese goals in Sunday’s 3-1 loss. But that may be a little harsh, because McNeil made two nimble saves in the first half that kept Scotland in the game against Nigeria.

Read More:http://www.canada.com/topics/sports/soccer/u-20worldcup/story.html?id=c4fbf8cd-ab06-48ac-b896-b129df4b32e7

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