Following Spain’s clash with Uruguay, the champions of Oceania and Africa go head-to-head in Group B’s second game in Belo Horizonte.
Sixty three years ago, the Brazilian city was the location for one of the biggest upsets in footballing history, USA’s win over England during the 1950 FIFA World Cup™. Should Tahiti emulate that result, shockwaves will be felt across world football.
Eddy Etaeta’s Tahiti have been in Brazil since 7 June, while Nigeria touched down eight days later. Will the extra preparation time benefit the islanders?
Tahiti-Nigeria, Monday 17 June, Belo Horizonte, 16:00 (local time)
Nigeria will be looking to take an early lead at the top of Group B by giving their goal difference a significant boost against a team who are 107 places below them in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. With Uruguay and Spain lying in wait, Stephen Keshi’s side will be looking to put their part-time opponents to the sword. Tahiti meanwhile are daring to dream.
This is the pair’s first meeting at international level, although they did square up at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2009 in Egypt. Nigeria prevailed 5-0 on that occasion, a first-round match held in Cairo when Obiora Nwankwo, Ibok Edet, Kehinde Fatai, Nurudeen Orelesi and Daniel Adejo were on target.
2 - Nigeria are one of two undefeated sides in the FIFA Confederations Cup, the other being Denmark. The west Africans went unbeaten in their previous participation in 1995, earning one win, two draws and losing only on penalties to Mexico in the match for third place.
“For an amateur player it is a dream to face the best players in the world. However for it not to become a nightmare we have to keep working really hard so we are ready for the first game,” Tahiti forward Steevy Chong Hue.
“It is a match we know we need to win and, to do that, we need to be fully concentrated. We cannot afford to take any chances. Big shocks have happened before in these kind of tournaments and we don’t want to be the victims this time,” Nigeria defender Efe Ambrose.