Nigeria became the first side from the African continent to book their place in the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Here is a detailed analysis of the team.
World Cup History:
This is going to be the African nation’s 6th appearance in the World Cup. After qualifying for the 1994 edition in the USA, they have missed only the 2006 tournament.
The best result the team has obtained is reaching the Round of 16 and they’ve done that thrice. They have won the African Cup of Nations three times, and are yet to break the duck of going past the Round of 16 stage.
Nigeria has had a healthy record of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup. The team has had a rejuvenation with an influx of young players who are hungry for success at the international stage.
Captain and former Chelsea player John Obi Mikel is the captain of the side, and he will be given the role of being the calm in the storm for Nigeria. Around him are bright young talents with the likes of Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa who are flamboyant in their style of play.
One of the issues that Nigeria can face is the inexperience of the players playing at this stage. Jitters and anxiety can curb someone’s ability to perform when it’s required. Their German coach Gernot Rohr will be working to help the team be buoyant and upbeat regardless of the pressure that they are going to face.
Rohr’s primary objective, however, will be to justify his decision of taking this squad to the World Cup.
The Super Eagles have traditionally been a team who have gone out and attacked their opposition in the game. They have always tried to outwork the team with their superior physicality and impose their gameplan.
Whether their coach will still follow this robust tactic can only be seen once the tournament starts, but Rohr would have backup plans if he sees his team getting outplayed due to formation tweaks of their opponents.
Nigeria is clubbed in Group D with Argentina, Croatia and Iceland.
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United).
Defenders: William Troost-Ekong, Abdullahi Shehu (both Bursaspor), Tyronne Ebuehi (Benfica), Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge), Brian Idowu (Amkar Perm), Chidozie Awaziem (Porto), Leon Balogun (Brighton), Kenneth Omeruo (Chelsea).
Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Tianjin Teda), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester), Oghenekaro Etebo (CD Feirense), John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Joel Obi (Torino, Italy).
Forwards: Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho (both Leicester), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone).
Probable Playing XI:
Uzoha, Shehu, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Idowu, Onazi, Obi, Iwobi, Mikel (C), Moses, Ighalo
John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi, William Troost-Ekong
Nigeria is the most successful nation in the FIFA U17 World Cup. They have won the title four times and been runner-ups thrice.
Probability of winning the World Cup:
Bet 365: 200/1