Coach Peter Dedevbo insists that his U-20 girls will not be starting as underdogs for whatever reason when the 8th FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup starts in Papua New Guinea in November this year.
“I don’t see why we need to fear any team. Rather, those teams should be the ones to be scared. Our pedigree at this level is intimidating.
“However, we would not be under-rating any of Spain, Canada or Japan. Our principle, as always, would be to take it one match at a time and focus on our objective of doing Nigeria proud.”
Dedevbo was also in charge when the Falconets cruised elegantly into the final of the last competition in Canada, losing to Germany only after extra time.
Thursday’s draw at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich threw the Nigeria U-20 girls into Group B, against known foes Canada and Japan, and relatively unfamiliar Spain.
At the inaugural edition in Canada 14 years ago, when the tournament was known as U-19 World Cup, Nigeria and and Japan battled to a 1-1 draw in the group stage, and eight years later, in Germany, the Falconets edged the Asians 2-1 in another group stage match.
However, as hosts in 2012, Japan edged the Falconets 2-1 in a third place match in Tokyo.
Hosts Canada defeated Nigeria 2-0 in a group stage match in 2002, but the Falconets earned a 3-2 win in another group stage match against the North Americans in Russia four years later.
The Falconets reached the quarter -finals in Thailand 2004, Russia 2006 and Chile 2008, finished as runners-up in Germany 2010 and Canada 2014 and reached the semi finals in Japan 2012.
ALL THE GROUPS
GROUP A: Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Sweden Korea DPR
GROUP B: Spain, Canada, Japan, Nigeria
GROUP C: France, USA, Ghana, New Zealand
GROUP D: Germany, Venezuela, Mexico, Korea Republic