By: Gyang Dakwo
Brazil scored two goals late in the first half to beat Nigeria 2-0 Saturday and finish top of Group D at the Under-20 World Cup.
Italy also reached the last 16 of the tournament in Argentina with a 3-0 victory against the Dominican Republic, to finish second in the group ahead of Nigeria, which will also advance as one of the four best third-place teams. All three teams finished with six points, but Brazil stayed ahead of Italy on goal difference.
Nigeria almost opened the scoring in La Plata with an acrobatic volley by Jude Sunday, which hit the crossbar and then the post before being pushed away by goalkeeper Mycael.
Brazil took the lead through defender Jean’s header in the 43rd minute. Only four minutes later, a counterattack put midfielder Marquinhos through on goal and he beat Nigeria’s goalkeeper Chijioke Aniagboso with a shot between the legs.
Nigeria hit the bar once more in the second half, but the pace of the match was already slower as both teams were certain to go through.
Italy was led by one of the stars of the tournament so far in midfielder Cesare Casadei, who scored twice against the Dominican Republic.
Giuseppe Ambrosino also scored for Italy.