Nigeria’s Flying Eagles and long-time rivals Brazil’s Seleço Sub-17 will go head to head in a thrilling group stage encounter today at the Estadio Unico Diego Maradona in La Plata, Argentina.
The Eagles have been formidable in this competition, topping their group with six points; trumping the Dominican Republic 2-1 and then Italy 2-0 in the last two group games.
Five-time FIFA U-20 winners Brazil has also been sturdy, coming from a first-game loss to Italy to thrash the Dominican Republic 6-0 on Wednesday.
Brazil and Nigeria are in Group D, with Brazil three points behind the Eagles. If Nigeria wins, then its position at the group's top is cemented, which would be a solid message to other teams in the competition.
If Brazil wins and Italy slams the Dominican Republic, three teams would finish on six points, and goal difference would be relied on to decide which team advances.
After a shock 3-2 loss to the Italians in their opening group game, Brazil sent a message to the Flying Eagles that they would not be a walkover by demolishing the Dominican Republic 6-0 to boost their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage.
Africa going strong
Gambia is also through to the knockout phase.
The Young Scorpions overpowered France 2-1 in a tense duel in the city of Mendoza, Argentina.
Senegal drew 1-1 with Israel and will need to beat Colombia to have a chance of advancing.
The two teams will now meet for the seventh time, as Brazil won four of the games while the other two ended in ties.
Brazil beat Nigeria 4-2 in their most recent encounter in the 2015 World Cup, topping their group.
Nigeria has advanced from the group stage in 10 of their past 12 appearances in the U-20 World Cup, scoring at least twice in each of their last four games.
The Nigeria-Brazil encounter is billed for 19:00 WAT.