Brazil beats Nigeria, Germany routs Fiji at U20 World Cup
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Striker Judivan scored twice as Brazil beat Nigeria 4-2 on Monday in a thrilling start to its FIFA Under-20 World Cup campaign.
The lead changed hands twice during the first half, and the teams went to halftime locked at 2-2 before Judivan clinched the match with his second goal eight minutes from fulltime thanks to a rare Nigerian defensive blunder.
Brazil’s win gave the five-time champions an early advantage in Group E, but they were overtaken later Monday by Hungary, which beat North Korea 5-1.
Hany Mukhtar scored a hat trick as Germany took early control of Group F with an 8-1 win over outclassed Oceania champion Fiji. Honduras beat Uzbekistan 4-3 in the group’s second match later on day three.
The clash between Brazil and Nigeria at New Plymouth was forecast to be one of the best of the group rounds and lived up to that billing as the teams went blow for blow. There were flowing attacking moves, brilliant displays of individual skill and great goals which lifted the tone of a tournament that has been relatively low key to date.
“We had expected to face a really good side in Nigeria and we weren’t mistaken on that front,” Brazil coach Rogerio Micale said. “We started very well, but then the opposition gradually got on top and prevented us from playing our game.
“We shored things up in the middle of the park again in the second half and then looked to exploit the wings, which paid dividends,” Micale added.
Judivan was a hugely influential figure, not only for his goals, but for his tenacity and playmaking ability. He featured prominently in a move in the fourth minute that also saw Joao Pedro and Gabriel Jesus combine for the opening goal.
An early strike from Nigeria hit the post but they equalized after only 11 mintues when Musa Yahaya sent a superb pass to Success Isaac, who rounded the ’keeper before slotting the ball into an open goal.
Nigeria took the lead in the 28th minute from a slick breakaway, at the end of which Yahaya cut inside a defender and drove the ball into the goal from the edge of the box.
After scoring Brazil’s opening goal, Gabriel Jesus became the provider of the second, back-heeling the ball through the legs of Onyinye Ndidi and into the path of Judivan, who scored with a low shot.
The tempo flagged a little at the start of the second half before Boschilia put Brazil ahead 3-2 just before the hour mark. Judivan then made the game safe with the final goal after an error by goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo.
Nigeria coach Manu Garba called his team’s loss a “huge disappointment.”
“We carved out the better chances in the first half and we should have led at the break,” Garba said. “The first 45 minutes reflected what we’re capable of.
“We simply made two mistakes that cost us dearly in the second period,” he added. “All in all we played our part in a really great match and I’d like to congratulate Brazil on their victory. They’re a very good team.”
Mukhtar scored in the 34th, 40th and 89th minutes as Germany overwhelmed Fiji, racing to a 6-0 lead at halftime.
Fiji defended stoutly until the 18th minute when Niklas Stark scored the first of his two goals.
Marc Stendera scored two minutes later from the penalty spot after a hand ball and goals flowed freely until halftime with Grischa Proemel scoring in the 23rd minute, Stark completing his double in the 27th, then Mukhtar scoring twice before the break.
Fiji had a moment of celebration in its first match at an Under-20 World Cup when Iosefo Verevou scored with a header just after halftime.
Marvin Stefaniak scored in the 68th minute and Mukhtar completed his hat trick with a penalty a minute before fulltime.
Hungary’s Bence Mervo scored the second hat trick of the day in his team’s win over North Korea. Mervo scored in the 17th, 49th and 82nd minute, while Zsolt Kalmar and David Forgacs also scored.
Bryan Rochez’ second goal in the second minute of stoppage time clinched Honduras’s opening win over Uzbekistan.
Rochez’ late strike put Honduras ahead 4-2, but Zabikhillo Urinboev pulled the margin back to one goal by scoring seconds before the final whistle.