It’s going to be another mouth-watering clash at the Rio Olympic Games Men’s football event as the Nigeria’s U-23 team face a stiff test against Germany in the semi final at the Corinthians Arena in São Paulo on Wednesday 8pm Nigerian time.
The Dream Team VI against all odds have proved doubters wrong despite their shortcomings starting with their poor results in their warm-up matches and flight hitches, to make it to the last four of the competition. They began their sojourn to winning their second gold medal with a 5-4 win against Japan, 1-0 victory against Sweden before bowing to the firing power of Colombia 2-0 in their last group game.
However, the team came up to the party with a fantastic display in their quarter final clash against Denmark as they went, saw and conquered a team that annihilated them 6-2 in a Suwon four nation invitational tournaments 2-0 to book a semi final ticket.
On the other hand, Germany got to this stage with a sloppy start to their campaign after drawing their first two matches against Mexico (2-0), South Korea (3-3) before routing Fiji 10-0 to qualify as group C winner with five points. They kept their cool in the quarter final stages, beating high profile side, Portugal 4-0 to move a step closer to the medals spot.
It is interesting to know that the Germany are the tournament’s top scoring team with 19 goals against five conceded compared to Nigeria’s nine goals against six conceded going to Wednesday’s semi final battle in Sao Paulo. Defensively, both teams still have mountains to climb but attacking wise they seem to pose a great threat, something which could decide the outcome of the match.
In terms of the team’s tactical and technical approaches, Dream Team VI coach, Samson Siasia has implemented an expansive style of play which allows players such as Mikel Obi, Imoh Ezekiel, Oghenekharo Etebo and Sadiq Umar to rove around freely on the pitch while the German tacticians, Horst Hrubesch has deployed a more cautious but attacking approaches with players such as Serge Gnabry, Lars Bender, Leon Goretzka, Julian Brandt and Davie Selke operating from a wider position.
The Dream Team VI could welcome back Etebo, who missed the quarter final win over Denmark due to injury to the starting line all things been equal, however, the technical crew would banking on the trio of Mikel, Ezekiel and Sadiq who have shone brightly in the competition to shoulder the goal scoring responsibility of the team.
Meanwhile, Siasia told Olympic.org he’s focus on beating Germany first before thinking of final clash against Brazil at the Rio Olympic Games.
“I don’t want to worry about Brazil right now. I have the semi-final against Germany to think about and that is the only thing in my mind right now. After crossing the Germany hurdle, we will think of our opponents for the gold medal match,” Siasia said.
“We saw what the Brazilians did to the Danish team (4-0); they are a very good side. They didn’t start well but the most important thing is how well you end. It’s not easy scoring four goals against this Danish team. We have gone through a lot on this journey and we cannot get to the gold medal match and then freeze.”
In the same vein, Mikel has predicted that Nigeria U23s will repeat their performance when they confront Germany in the semifinals of the Olympic Games on Wednesday.
“I’m happy for the team , we did what we had to do . We did what the coach asked . We are very happy to be in the semifinals,” Mikel said during Saturday’s press conference.
“My goal and the coach is the same. We have a group of players thinking the same way. I hope the semifinal is equal to today, we can reach the final in order to win the gold medal.”
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim defender Jeremy Toljan has revealed that Germany would face a difficult team in Nigeria on Wednesday.
“We will analyse our opponents and adjust accordingly in training for Nigeria, ” Toljan told dfb.de.
“We are coming up against a physically strong and quick side, one that will push us all to the limit.
“But as I said, if we go into the game and turn up fully concentrated, we only make ourselves harder to beat.”
Meanwhile, Argentina referee Nestor Pitana has been appointed by FIFA to officiate the Rio Olympics men’s football semi final clash between Nigeria and Germany in Sao Paulo on Wednesday. Maidana Herman and Belatti Juan Pablo will assist Nestor Pitana for the semi final clash between Nigeria and Germany.