10th June, 2015
Captain of Germany’s U-20 team, Kevin Akpoguma, has warned his teammates to thread with caution when they engage Nigeria’s Flying Eagles in the Round of 16 match of the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup tomorrow morning in New Zealand.
Akpoguma, whose dad is a Nigerian said: “This match is already a special one for me; my parents are here and Thursday will be even more memorable for my Dad. Although he’ll have both his Germany and Nigeria flags at the ready for when the national anthems are played, in the end he’ll just be happy if his son gets to the next round,” he said.
As Frank Wormuth’s team swept through the group stages with supreme confidence and a perfect record, Akpoguma was deployed as an attacking right-back, a role that will be key in Germany’s encounter with the technically adept yet hard-tackling Nigerians. “They rely on their attacking play and their one-on-one skills,” the 20-year-old explained. “They’re quick and have an insatiable urge to press forward. We’ve really got to watch our step as they’ve already shown that they score by putting two goals past Brazil.”
Nevertheless, Germany’s promising young defender – who counts the Flying Eagles alongside Brazil, Portugal, Serbia and his own team as title contenders – believes there is every reason to remain optimistic. “We don’t have to change much,” he told FIFA.com.
“If we can consistently remember our lines and stick to our plan, we’ll get good results. We’re getting into the business end of the tournament and we’re extremely fired up about what’s ahead. Nigeria are a great side, so now we can show what we’re really made of. We want to be in the last four and go all the way to Auckland. Having come here as European champions, that’s got to be our target.”