Football: JUMPING JULIUS IS AIMIN' TO PUT SVEN IN A SPIN; WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN: England Must Beware Aghahowa.(Sport)

Sunday Mirror (London, England), May 19, 2002 | Go to article overview

Football: JUMPING JULIUS IS AIMIN' TO PUT SVEN IN A SPIN; WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN: England Must Beware Aghahowa.(Sport)


Byline: ANTHONY CLAVANE

WHO is the man most likely to wreck England's dreams of qualifying from the dreaded Group of Death in Japan?

There are quite a few contenders when you think about it. Freddie Ljungberg instantly springs to mind.

Juan Sebastian Veron will be desperate to prove a lot of his English critics wrong.

Henrik Larsson, Ariel Ortega and Herman Crespo are other likely assassins.

But according to the Nigerians, the man most likely to sound the death knell for Sven Goran Eriksson's boys is their very own answer to Michael Owen.

The message from the Super Eagles' camp this week was loud and clear: "Watch out Sven, Julius Aghahowa is coming to get you."

Julius who?

This is not a question England fans will be asking after Eriksson's team plays its final Group F opponents on June 12.

Plying his trade with Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk, Aghahowa made his name in the 2000 African Nations Cup as he scored the goals that fired Nigeria to the final.

If his recent goal against Scotland and superb strike against Ireland are in any way representative, he may prove to be Nigeria's secret weapon in the World Cup.

After the wonderkid had produced a dynamic display to help the slick Nigerians inflict a rare defeat on Mick McCarthy's Ireland at Dublin on Wednesday, he was the toast of the town.

McCarthy singled him out as a player to watch, echoing Tartan Army boss Berti Vogts' praise for the young striker.

"Players like him are tough to mark and he can make a big impression at the World Cup," said Vogts.

Taribo West is convinced Aghahowa, 19, will have the same impact on this tournament as Owen had on France 98.

"This is his big moment," said ex-Derby defender West. "He will be a revelation in the World Cup."

Aghahowa is as much noted for his spectacular somersaulting goal celebrations as his spectacular strikes.

He said: "I've been doing somersaults for a couple of years and the first time I did it a lot of people liked them. I saw Lua Lua do them on TV and he did seven, he is a good African lad.

"On one occasion I did 12 in a row after scoring a goal in the 90th minute. I was so excited and just went crazy. …

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Football: JUMPING JULIUS IS AIMIN' TO PUT SVEN IN A SPIN; WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN: England Must Beware Aghahowa.(Sport)
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