AUCKAND – The Young All Whites’ second round opponents at the FIFA U-17 World Cup will be hosts Nigeria in front of an intimidating crowd of over 40,000 and their coach couldn’t be happier.
With group play completed this morning and the top 16 teams all confirmed, the final pieces of the playoff puzzle could be placed.
While Nigeria qualified top of a ‘group of death’ featuring Argentina, Germany and Honduras, taking on the hosts at the 60,000 seat Abuja National Stadium is a prospect that excites New Zealand coach Steve Cain.
“The occasion will be absolutely fantastic. The crowd will be huge and the atmosphere will be absolutely magical,” Cain said.
“The African people have been very friendly to us and very complimentary to us when we’ve played. We’ve won some hearts and minds and we’d like to continue that with a game against the host nation.”
“It’s exactly what we’d hope for. It’s an occasion and something that will stick in the boys’ minds for a lifetime.
At a World Cup, every team you play is going to be hard so you’d rather have a game in front of a full house. We’ve backed ourselves all tournament and we’ll do so again against Nigeria. We’ve shown we’re a very hard team to beat.
FIFA U-17 World Cup, Nigeria
Round of 16
Argentina v Colombia, Ijebu Ode, 4am (NZT)
Italy v USA, Kaduna, 4am (NZT)
Switzerland v Germany, Lagos 7am (NZT)
Turkey v UAE, Enugu, 7am (NZT)
Spain v Burkina Faso, Kano 4am (NZT)
Mexico v Korea Republic, Bauchi, 4am (NZT)
Iran v Uruguay, Calabar, 7am (NZT)
Nigeria v New Zealand, Abuja, 7am (NZT)