‘Why not us?’: Joeys’ belief grows after impressive Nigeria win
Joeys midfielder Idrus Abdulahi has a simple response for anyone wondering if they can win the FIFA U-17 World Cup™ after his side’s stunning 2-1 victory over Nigeria: Why not?
A double from Joeys striker Noah Botic ensured Australia rose to third in Group B and qualified for the knockout phase of the competition held in Brazil.
After picking up just one point in their first two group games the Joeys needed a huge result against Nigeria, the 2013 and 2015 U-17 World Cup winners who Australia had never beaten before.
And boy did they rise to the occasion.
“It was a game that we had to win and we got three points, it’s an amazing feeling,” Abdulahi said.
“We had to fight, we had to defend and this is the part of the game we have to do, we did it really well and got the three points, that’s what matters.
“The belief that we can win, it doesn’t matter who it is, we showed it and we beat the best team, probably one of the best teams in the tournament.”
The historic win sends the Joeys into the final 16 where they will face France in a do-or-die knockout game from 10am AEDT on Thursday morning.
Making it out of the group stage was step one; step two is capitalising on it, and Melbourne City teen Abdulahi says there’s no reason why the Joeys can’t go deep into the tournament.
“There’s one trophy and one team has to win it, why not us?” Abdulahi said.
“I think we showed last night we’d be one of the favourites of the tournament.
“It just shows we can do anything as a team, we are really confident (to face) any team, we are ready.
“We have amazing staff, we have amazing coaches, we have amazing players, and we’re together. That’s the most important thing.”
Abdulahi and his Joeys teammates are full of confidence and understandably so, after dealing Nigeria only their third defeat in their last 31 FIFA U-17 World Cup™ matches.
And for the City starlet, the squad’s mixture of individual brilliance and team-oriented camaraderie which has them firing on all cylinders as they head into the knockout phase.
“I think togetherness is our strongest (asset),” Abdulahi said.
“Every player in the team has a role and we all have something to contribute.
“The players on the bench support the players that are playing and when the players on the bench come on to play we always support them, help them.
“I just shows that together you’re much stronger.”