30th July, 2011
Ever Almeida, Guatemala coach has vowed that his team who are first timers in the FIFA U-20 world Cup are battle ready to take the war to the veterans, Nigeria’s Flying Eagles in their first Group D tie tomorrow in Armenia, Colombia.
Almedia said that his team are not afraid of the pedigree of the Nigerian team who have good record in the FIFA youth tournament over the years.
According to the coach, who spoke with fifa.com, â€œWeâ€™ll fight with everything weâ€™ve got. Weâ€™re going for the win, of course, and weâ€™ll do all we can to make the fans happy.â€
Experience meets ambition as Nigeria take on Guatemala in their Group D opener tomorrow.
This is the African nation’s fourth successive appearance at this competition, their ninth overall, and they have reached the final twice, while the Central American debutants will be doing their utmost to cause an upset.
Nigeria coach, John Obuh, said experience of his team, the bulk of the players who won the silver trophy of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria, will count in the crucial match.
â€œWe always go for the win, no matter who weâ€™re playing, and weâ€™ve got players with all the enthusiasm and desire to get something out of their World Cup experience.”
Nigeria have one of the strongest records in this competition, with 39 FIFA U-20 World Cup matches to date, and the current side come to Colombia having recently won the CAF African Youth Championship for the sixth time.
Coach Obuh is sure to build his team around those players who participated in the country’s FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign in 2009, where they eventually lost 1-0 to Switzerland in the final on home soil.
Guatemala also go into the group stage on a high, following their surprise semi-final finish in Aprilâ€™s CONCACAF qualifying tournament.
In that tournament, they defeated, among others, regional heavyweights USA, who thus failed to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup after seven straight appearances.
Their strong defence and rapid counter-attacking play are expected to be central to coach Almeidaâ€™s plans, though the suspension of centre-back Manuel Moreno is undoubtedly a blow.