Football 2 years ago

Joeys to play like Socceroos at U17 WCup

  • Joeys to play like Socceroos at U17 WCup

The Joeys have vowed to "play like Aussies" when they face the might of defending FIFA under-17 World Cup champions Nigeria on Thursday morning (AEDT) in Chile.

Victory in the round-of-16 clash would equal the best finish from an Australian side at the tournament since 2001.

In that year, the Joeys featured the likes of Alex Wilkinson, Carl Valeri and Brett Holman but were unable to get past Nigeria, losing 5-1 in their quarter-final.

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Nigeria are four-time cup winners but clearly aren't striking any fear into the hearts of the Australians, who have been able to extricate themselves from a 'group of death' including Germany, Mexico and Argentina.

"Nigeria is quality; they're a powerhouse," FFA youth technical director Peter de Roo said.

"But we've already played against three powerhouses that came here with the goal to be world champions."

De Roo said the Joeys would not change their style and stick with the same attacking mentality against Nigeria that had taken them to this point.

"We're really going to give it to them - we're not sitting back. We're going to play like Aussies," he said.

"It's not going to be easy, but we don't fear any team in this competition."

Nigeria had a strong start to the tournament and were one of the early favourites to claim the title.

They kicked off their campaign with a strong 2-0 win over USA, before flexing their muscle with a 5-1 thrashing of hosts Chile, before being brought back to reality with a 2-1 loss to Croatia.

The Nigerians are also leading the goalscoring charts, with Victor Osimhen bagging four in the group stage - amazingly with a perfect shots-to-goals ratio.

However, Joeys coach Tony Vidmar said his side were capable of beating anyone if they played at their full potential.

"If we go in with the same intent, the same desire, the same momentum that we had in the previous three games, we can control the game," Vidmar said.

"We can dictate the terms; we want to put the opposition on the back foot.

"If we go in with that, with the quality we have on the park, we can give ourselves a realistic chance of progressing."

The match begins at 9.45am (AEDT) on Thursday morning.

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