Nigeria’s Under-23 failed to re-enact the magic of 1996, when they won the Olympic gold medal in football in Atlanta.
At Arena Corinthians in Brazil Wednesday night, Nigeria’s Dream Team VI fell to their German counterparts by two goals to nil.
The Nigerians were ruined by Germany’s Lukas Klostermann, who struck in the 9th minute of the first half and Nils Petersen, who scored in the 90th minute, to record his sixth goal of the tournament.
The first five minutes was a very lively affair as both sides attempted an early goal. However, it was the Germans who utilised their very first chance at goal.
Serge Gnabry slipped a clever first-time pass into the path of German’s captain Max Meyer who squared for Klostermann to tap home at the back post after only nine minutes into the game.
Nigeria was presented with an opportunity of theirs a minute later but Sadiq Umar missed a glorious chance to restore parity after the German goalkeeper committed a blunder, virtually gifting the Nigerian the ball to score.
Nigeria enjoyed a foray forward into Germany’s half and Mikel Obi found space in the box and lashed a shot towards goal but the captain was quickly closed down by the German defence.
Germany dominated the game, but Nigeria created a few chances in the final 10 minutes to give their opponents something to think about at the break.
Nigeria began the second half brightly, with Imoh Ezekiel causing problems through some direct running at the German defence, but the Germans were resolute at the back.
However, it was German substitute Petersen who turned a team-mate’s shot into a cross to score at the back post and ended the Dream Team’s hope of a final berth with Brazil.
Nigeria will now have to battle for the Olympic bronze with Honduras, who in the earlier semi-final match of the day, lost woefully to Neymar led Brazil, 0-6, the second highest margin of loss in the tournament.
Germany at the group stage had beaten Fiji 10-0.
While Nigeria will meet Honduras for the bronze match, Brazil and Germany will meet in the finals at the Maracanã on Saturday.