Soccer: Nigeria beats England; reaches quarterfinals at U-20 World Cup
Armenia, Colombia — Edafe Egbedi scored the second-half winner as Nigeria edged England 1-0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Under-20 World Cup on Wednesday.
Egbedi netted from inside the penalty area in the 52nd minute in front of nearly 20,000 fans at the Centenario stadium in Armenia.
The understrength England squad leaves the tournament without having scored a goal in four matches. It had advanced to the second round with three 0-0 draws.
Striker Matthew Phillips had a chance to give England an equalizer against Nigeria in the 74th, but he missed over the crossbar after entering the area free from defenders. Phillips also came close in the 81st, sending another shot over the crossbar.
The Nigerians, who have won all four of their matches, had a few chances to extend the lead with long-range shots near the end, but England goalkeeper Jack Butland came up with difficult saves to keep his team in the game until full time.
“It was a difficult match but we were the ones who took more risks,” said Nigeria coach John Obuh, who was wearing a Colombian sombrero and earned the support of the local fans. “The English team played very defensively.”
Nigeria, Under-20 World Cup finalists in 1989 and 2005, will now play either France or Ecuador, which meet later Wednesday in Cartagena.
England, playing without many of its top players, is winless in 14 straight matches at the Under-20 World Cup, a streak dating back to the tournament in Malaysia in 1997. More than 30 eligible English players were not released by their clubs for the tournament.
“If you look at the results, you can say it was a failure,” England coach Brian Eastick said. “The only way to change that is to change regulations to make the clubs release their players.”