U-20 Female Championship – How Nigeria Can Beat Germany

The final of this year’s FIFA U-20 female championship in Germany comes up on Sunday, 1st of August 2010, between Nigeria and host country Germany. The two countries have worked assiduously to get to this stage, displaying character, tactical discipline and hard work

The host team is arguably the most potent in terms of attacking, having scored about 18 goals in 5 matches (an average of 3.6 goals per match). Their defense is also very tight; they have conceded only two goals in 5 matches. The girls have height advantage and physical fitness going for them.

The Nigerian team is also good in terms of ball control, physical fitness and team work. They have scored 6 goals in 5 matches (an average of 1.2 goals per match) and conceded 4. They are not a high scoring side, but that is not to say they are a push over. On paper the Germans are clearly favoured to win the tournament, but things don’t always happen that way; football is not mathematics.

One way the Nigerians could win this match is to prevent the Germans from dictating the pace of the match; they should try as much as possible to choke up the midfield and cut off ball supply to the German attackers. If the attackers are starved of ball, they won’t be able to cause any damage.

They should also close-mark the European team, leaving them with no room to dribble them and strike. Popp should particularly be prevented from scoring more goals. However, a lot of attention should not be given to Popp alone; otherwise those who are not marked would do a considerable damage.

Sunday Esther should be allowed to combine with Ebere Orji and Oparanozie to mount pressure on the German defense. They would cave in if the pressure is sustained for a long time. The girls should also take their chances and not waste their opportunities: they should be ready to strike at goal from any distance. They should not wait to dribble into the 18 yard box before shooting.

The falconets should also be ready to match their European opponents fitness-for-fitness; they should not be intimidated by the height and build of their opponents. They must also be ready to play their traditional pattern and not allow the Germans to force them to play their fast paced European pattern. If their opponents increase the pace of the game, they should slow them down by holding on to the ball and close marking them.

The German goalie is very tall and agile; the falconets should therefore be ready to follow up any shot fired at the goal and convert any rebound. The goal keeper is liable to errors; therefore they should always get close to her to utilize every opportunity in case she slips. They must also play their corner kicks directly into the yard box and stop passing it at the edge of the line.

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