A lone Edafe Egbedi strike seven minutes in the second half proved enough to propel Nigeria into the quarter-finals at the expense of England.
After three successive goalless draws lifted England narrowly into the knockout stage, an inability to find a cutting edge in attack once again proved the downfall of the Europeans.
The first half was a low key affair in warm conditions in Armenia, with England’s Matthew Phillips enjoying a rare sight of goal in the early stages only to fire over the crossbar. It was a similar scenario for Callum McManaman just past the half-hour mark, but again a lofted effort failed to trouble the Nigerian goalkeeper.
The Africans then replied in kind with Olarenwaju Kayode having two sights of goal within a minute. The No9’s first effort was saved by England goalkeeper Jack Butland, while the second cleared the crossbar.
The second stanza commenced in very different fashion to the first with action at both ends.
Firstly, good movement between Ahmed Musa and Emmanuel Anyanwu set up the latter for a strike, only for his effort to go wide.
Then came England’s best chance of the match. Phillips hit a stunning shot from outside the penalty area, but Nigeria goalkeeper Dami Paul produced an equally impressive stop.
The importance of Paul’s save was underlined within a minute as Nigeria scored with what proved to be the lone goal of the contest. A lightning attack on the left flank from Kayode, concluded with a perfect cross to Egbedi who converted from close range.
Amazingly, England very nearly restored parity within a minute with Billy Knott striking the frame of the goal with an acrobatic effort, following impressive lead-up work from McManaman.
Musa was at it again soon after as the intensity of the match increased, with the ever-impressive Butland blocking the shot.
Midway through the second half England again had a good chance to equalise but Phillips fired over with what proved his team’s final chance.
Butland though again came to England’s rescue denying both substitute striker Uche Nwofor and Ramon Azeez in the dying minutes.
Seeking their first final appearance since Netherlands 2005, Nigeria will now face the winner of tonight’s later match between France and Ecuador.
Despite reaching the last 16, England return home having now moved past Mexico’s unwanted record of 13 FIFA U-20 World Cup matches without a win.