Flying Eagles coach, Manu Garba, has blamed the team’s ouster from the FIFA U-20 World Cup on loss of concentration.
Nigeria lost 1-0 to Germany in a round-of-16 clash after a 19th-minute strike from German midfielder Levin Oeztunali proved the difference in front of 5, 288 fans at AMI Stadium.
Germany, who have played all four of their matches at the tournament in Christchurch, will remain in the city for a last-eight clash with Mali on Sunday afternoon.
But Garba, who will now return to Nigeria with his players, blamed loss of concentration – the same reason he gave in the 4-2 loss to Brazil in their first match – for the team’s defeat.
“I believe that our players learnt a lot from this game and a big lesson in general from the tournament,” he said in the post-match conference.
“The level at the under-20s is far higher than at the under-17s, and Germany are a very tough and highly tactical team.
“Our players lost concentration at the crucial moment and this gave the Germans a chance to score.”
However, he exonerated goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo for the loss.
“He may have saved that ball (which resulted in the game’s lone goal) if he had a clear view, but there is nothing we can do now,” he said.
Germany’s coach, Frank Wormuth, praised his team for the hard-fought victory.
“In the end, I give congratulations to my team for finding the answer to the problems Nigeria posed us. They deserved the win and I am very impressed with them,” he said.
“I am especially proud of my team’s defence today (Thursday).”
On their next opponents, Wormuth exuded confidence in the abilities of his team to advance to the semi-finals.
“Of course our aim is to get to the final in Auckland. But to get there we must go step to step and our next step is Mali. The German mentality is to always think this way,” he said.
“I expect Mali to play in quite a similar way to what we saw today (Thursday) from Nigeria.”