Australia back from the brink to book Round of 16 berth in FIFA U17 World Cup 2019


Australia have reached the Round of 16 stage of the FIFA U17 World Cup 2019 after a 2-1 win over Nigeria in their final group match at the Estadio Bezerrao in Gama, Brazil.

The Joeys’ prospects of making it to the knockout stages of the competition looked slim after an opening day defeat to Ecuador and a 2-2 draw against Hungary in their second outing, but a win over Nigeria sees them progress as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Hoffenheim forward Noah Botic came up with the heroics for the Australians opening the scoring in the 13th minute. But, Group B pacesetters Nigeria struck back through Peter Olawale eight minutes later to restore parity.

Botic then converted from the penalty spot in the 54th minute handing the much-needed first win for the Joeys.

Ecuador defeated Hungary 3-2 in the other Group B fixture to go level on six points with Nigeria and progress to the knockout stages. Meanwhile, Australia progress as one of the four best third-place finishers with four points.

In Group A, New Zealand edged Canada 1-0 for their first points thanks to a first-half strike from Matthew Garbett, however it was hosts Brazil and Angola who progressed as the top two collecting nine and six points respectively.

New Zealand, who have three points in their bag, now have to keep track of the results in other groups to find out whether they will progress as one of the third-placed sides.

(Photo credit: Socceroos)