Hosts and holders Nigeria head to the southern coastal city of Calabar this afternoon for their quarter-final clash against Korea Republic at the U.J. Esuene Stadium.
The encounter is bound to be an intriguing clash of styles and football cultures when the fast-moving, team-oriented Koreans take on the improvisational and technically gifted Golden Eaglets.
The Nigerians are flying high on the crest of a wave of confidence. After drubbing the outgunned New Zealanders to the tune of 5-0 in their round-of-16 clash in the capital, there may well be a dangerous intoxication creeping into the Eaglets’ camp.
They, however, are not world-beaters yet and will face a far sterner test when the lively Koreans come calling.
Stanley Okoro has been pulling the strings brilliantly in midfield and Sani Emmanuel has proven himself the purest supersub of these finals, scoring a pair against the Kiwis off the bench for John Obuh’s talented outfit.
The Koreans, by contrast, needed penalties to win their tense and tight last-16 contest with Mexico.
After trailing for the entirety of the second half in Bauchi, only a last-gasp goal from Kim Dong Jin brought the scores level and forced extra-time.