Nigeria faces their biggest test at the Rio 2016 Olympics in Germany this evening as they bid to win the football event for a record second time.
The Samson Siasia led side got to this stage by winning their group convincingly before beating Denmark for a semifinal spot while Germany hammered Portugal 4-0 in the quarter-finals just after cruising past Fiji 10-0 in their last group match.
Nigeria’s biggest football portal, FCNaija.com, give brings an insight on both teams and key battles that may swing the match either way.
Mikel Obi vs Seven Bender
Mikel Obi has been outstanding for the Dream Team VI so far in the tournament with his leadership role and kick started the win against Denmark with a cool finish to Imoh Ezekiel’s pass.
The team will need him again this evening against the Germans and one man that will be trying to break the Chelsea’s midfielder play is Seven Bender.
Bender is a very experienced midfielder and his sojourn with Borussia Dortmund has helped shaped him into a fine player. Mikel will look to dictate the pace of the match but will have to out-do this German in midfield. All is poised there for a stiff battle.
Usman Muhammed vs Lars Bender
Muhammed has enjoyed a great tournament playing alongside Okechukwu Azubuike in midfield but with the Yeni Malatyaspor of Turkey star suspended for this game, he has a lot of grounds to cover and Bayer Leverkusen Lars Bender just like his brother will be a handful.
Bender will try to orscharate the German attack from midfield and Muhammed can’t afford to allow him space and time on the ball.
Abdullahi Shehu vs Serge Gnabry
Shehu is one of the most outstanding Nigerian players at this tournament.
He likes to bump up and down the right wing a with unbelieveable show of strength but against a very fast pace Arsenal winger in Gnabry, it looks like we have one of the most interesting match-ups on the cards.
Stanley Amuzie vs Maximilian Meyer
Stanley Amuzie has a terrific left foot and delivers sumptous crossesinto vital areas whenever he has the opportunity to join the attack like we witnessed in the game against Sweden when he assisted the only goal of the game for Umar Sadiq.
However, Schalke 04 midfielder Meyer will ensure he occupies the left back in defense as he looks to help create opportunities for Davie Selke to score. The 20-year-old is highly regarded in Germany and will be a tricky customer for the Nigerian.
Sadiq Umar vs Matthias Ginter
This will be the biggest fight for the night as Ginter will try to block every available space and deny the Roma striker any sniff of goal.
The lanky Nigerian forward has been a nightmare so far for defenders at the competition and will look to continue from where he stopped in the last game.
Germany are uncomfortable playing against teams that are fleet-footed like the Nigerian side as seen in the games against South Korea and Mexico where they played out a 3-3 and 2-2 draws respectively.
Nigeria are not the most tactical side left in the competition but makes it up for their skill and endeavour but their undoing may be the ablity to lose concentration in key parts of matches and the goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel may have to do a little more than he has ever done throughout the competition.