The Africa champions Nigeria are set to close out a phenomenal 2013 with a clash against Italy today at Craven Cottage. Both sides have secured their place at next year’s FIFA World Cup, with this match offering them an opportunity to set the tone for next year. The respective mangers will be free will to tinker with their line-ups in London as they begin preparations for Brazil.
Nigeria will have to consider a replacement for Godfrey Oboabona, while Italy will look to cover for Andrea Barzagli after both players were injured and pulled off in their team’s respective matches this past weekend. The Super Eagles were unbeaten in all eight matches of their World Cup qualifying campaign. They topped Group F to set up a contest against Ethiopia in the mandatory playoffs.
The men from west Africa won with a 4-1 aggregate score, after beating Ethiopia 2-1 away in the first leg and 2-0 in the return leg played on home-soil on Saturday. Goals by Victor Moses and Victor Obinna cemented their place in the showpiece.
While Nigeria played their CAF play-off, the Azzurri tested themselves against Germany at the San Siro.
AC Milan right-back Ignazio Abate cancelled Mats Hummels’ goal to secure a 1-1 draw and maintain Italy’s record of having not lost to the Germans since 1995.
Cesare Prandelli’s charges were convincing in their qualifying campaign, also going unbeaten to top Group B four points ahead of Denmark.