In our Nigeria Preview: World Cup 2018, we share our analysis about this Nigeria team. Not only do their have the best kits in the World Cup but there’s also a lot of optimism about how far this team can go in the tournament.
Nigeria Preview: World Cup 2018
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi, Francis Uzoho
Defenders: William Troost-Ekong, Shehu Abdullahi, Leon Balogun, Kenneth Omeruo, Bryan Idowu, Chidozie Awaziem, Elderson Echiejile, Tyronne Ebuehi
Midfielders: Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu, Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Joel Obi
Forwards: Odion Ighalo, Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Simeon Nwankwo, Victor Moses
- Manager: Gernot Rohr
- Captain: John Obi Mikel
- Best Finish: Second Round (1994, 1998, 2014)
Likely starting lineup
Since attentions turned to the 2018 World Cup, there’s been a renewed focus about the Super Eagles under the guidance of Rohr.
Although there have been some turbulent times in recent years, with him in charge the team appears to have it’s identity back and Nigeria supporters will have hope this group could potentially better their last-16 appearance of four years ago.
It may have been widely assumed that Nigeria have the smartest shirt heading into this World Cup, with neutral fans queueing up around the globe to get their hands on that, but they may well be one of the most interesting teams to tune into as well. Under Rohr, it’s been clear what the team is about.
There will be long spells when the Super Eagles do sit in and in games against Argentina and Croatia in particular they will have to soak up a lot of pressure. But when they do win the ball back they’re adept at cutting opponents open on the counter, especially through the express pace of Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi.
Rohr has forged this blueprint based on the tools at his disposal. Nigeria are likely to line up with a midfield trio of Mikel, Wilfried Ndidi and Ogenyi Onazi in Russia; while the skipper does have some class on the ball, in the main they’ll look to protect the defence and feed the ball forward quickly from inside to out.
While the back four is set to be well shielded, if smarter teams can carve through Nigeria’s midfield there’ll be concerns about their defense being exposed. There’s excitement and apprehension about the capabilities of Francis Uzoho between the sticks too; the 19-year-old is a talent, but dropped a clanger in the warm-up loss to England.
Key Man – Victor Moses
Moses had his career revived at Chelsea by Antonio Conte, who remodelled him as an excellent wing-back for the Blues in their 2016-17 title-winning season.
With no such position available in the Nigeria squad at the moment, Moses is pushed forward into an advanced role on the right side. So often he’s the man who leads some of the brilliant breaks forward we’ve seen from the Super Eagles in the buildup to the competition.
Moses may be more effective with high-class players around him at Chelsea and in a role where a lot of his runs forward come from deep and are subsequently untracked. But the turnaround in fortunes at Stamford Bridge have made him a more confident player on the international stage and one of the leaders in Rohr’s setup.
Expect to see Iwobi and Moses switching flanks throughout the group stage and to have plenty of joy if the coach can get his tactical blueprint right. If the gameplan is successful enough to see Nigeria through a tricky group, the Chelsea man will surely have a big role to play.
Nigeria’s Group Stage fixtures
Saturday, June 16
Friday, June 22
Tuesday, June 26
Nigeria’s path to the final
If Nigeria wins Group D, their Round of 16 game will be against the country that finishes second from Group C which will either be France, Australia, Denmark or Peru. If Nigeria wins that Round of 16 game, Nigeria will enter the quarterfinal stage with a game against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group B (Spain, Portugal, Morocco or Iran) and the team that finishes second in Group A (either Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Uruguay). If Nigeria advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the F1 vs. E2 versus H1 vs. G2 series.
If Nigeria finishes second in Group D, Nigeria will play the team that finishes first in Group C (either France, Australia, Denmark or Peru). If Nigeria wins that game, it would be in the quarterfinal against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group A (either Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay or Egypt) and the team that finishes second in Group B (either Morocco, Iran, Spain or Portugal). If Nigeria advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the E1 vs. F2 versus G1 vs. H2 series.
Nigeria World Cup shirt (home)
It’s one of the most anticipated jerseys ever. Celebrate Naija-the new Nigeria- in the latest home jersey, already an instant classic.
The shirt draws inspiration from one worn by the 1994 Super Eagles at the country’s first World Cup appearance, where they reached the round of 16. This year’s squad, the youngest qualifying group in the competition, follow a 2014 team who also made it out of the group stage.
Green with a white chevron design covers the front and back of the jersey, eagle-wing inspired. The sleeves are white with black chevrons. A strip in country colors is on the back collar.
The federation badge is sewn on, with an embroidered swoosh.
Nigeria World Cup shirt (away)
There is a history of Nigeria wearing an all green shirt at the World Cup. The 2018 version is a rich, dark shade accented by a simple neon green monochrome badge and swoosh. There is a zig-zag pattern on the sleeves, with a neon strip on the back collar.
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