The curtain fell on a come back bid for the Nigerian Golden Eaglets to clinch the world cup early Wednesday morning as they crashed out 1-3 to a determined Dutch side.The Nigerian side were runaway Group B leaders who suffered an apparent decline in their last group match which they lost after a failed comeback bid against Australia.
The failure hunted them into the Round of 16. In contrast, Netherlands were at the brink of elimination from the group stage until they discovered their form in their last game against USA.
They had agonizing wait before they discovered they were through as lucky qualifiers for the Round of 16. The form is carried on into the game with Nigeria, which has now seen them score seven goals in two matches.
The Dutch has their Sontje Hansen to thank as he scored three goals to be the second hat trick star of the tournament.
Characteristically, the Nigerian match produced an early goal as Hansen found the net for the Dutch after just four minutes.
Olakunle Olusegun fought back for Nigeria, leveling up eight minutes later as if to confirm the comeback ratings of the Nigerian side. That was where the story ended.
The Dutch shot ahead three minutes after Nigeria’s equalizer through in-form Hansen. They took the lead into the second stanza of the game.
The Golden Eaglets made spirited effort, firing full cylinders, but to no avail.
It came from bad to worse for the
Nigerian side, eleven minutes to regulation time. After almost two minutes after an incident in the Ngerian penalty area, a VAR review revealed that Ferdinand Ikenna had his hand to the ball while in tango with a Dutch attacker.
The defender was yellow-carded and Hansen was handed a golden chance to wrap up the game for the Netherlands and also to achieve the second hat trick of the tournament and with five goals, to become the leading scorer in the tournament.
With Nigeria’s elimination, Africa has lost two teams in the knockout stage. Angola had earlier been eliminated after a 0-1 loss to Korea Republic.