Huge expectation from Nigerians as Nigeria prepare for Croatia
Huge expectations have been expressed by Nigeria supporters as the country prepares to kick off their world cup challenge on Saturday with a cracker against Croatia. The Super eagles is the lowest ranked African team to make it to these edition of world tournament. The huge expectation and optimism have been due to the manner the country qualified for the tournament.
Nigeria despite placed in the same group with reigning African champions Cameroun, high flying Algeria and 2012 champions Zambia not only progressed to the world cup but did it in style as the qualified with a game to spare. The team recorded 4 victories and 2 draws with a total number of 12 goals in the qualifying games as a proof of their dominant performance, that was best Nigeria Football news that year. The team would not have gotten to this stage without the arrival of Gernot Rohr. The German took from former player and coach Sunday Oliseh after the Nigerian tactician failed to guide Nigeria to African cup of nations.
Gernot in his recent interview with BBC sports media responded that his crew have built a favorable environment for the players while adding that all his players showed commitment to make it to the world cup.The Nigeria are currently ranked 48th in the world were drawn in Group D with 5th place Argentina who incidentally are familiar foes to the West African country. 22nd place Iceland and 20th placed Croatia make up the group making Nigeria the underdogs of the group. This is the 6th time that Nigeria is making it to the world cup despite the crop of talented players the country have produced.
Nigeria have never advanced beyond the round of 16 in their six appearance in the Quadrennial competition. Their biggest achievement have a round 16 spot in 1994, 1998 and 2014 editions respectively. Nigeria by virtue of their world ranking will be going into the first game as underdogs though promising not to lie down for teams to roll over. Mikel and Gernot in an interview he responded that they will not be intimidated by any team irrespective of the quality the opposing team possesses.
The Super eagles will be hoping to revive the Nigerian spirit which seemed to have eluded them in their last 3 outings. The never say die attitude of the Super eagles have remained one of the attributes that distinguished them from other African teams.
Rohr will be hoping for a ruthless performance from the team when the take on their European rival. Nigeria in the past have gotten fair results against European team in this competition with 5 wins, 5 losses and 1 draws in their last 11 encounters in the competition. Croatia’s record of losing their three consecutive opening games will no doubt breed element of fear, doubt and inferiority from the players. This is where Nigeria will be expected to capitalize on.
Nigeria from the past have proven not rely on friendly games and ratings for source of strength heading into competitions. The super eagles have recovered their mojo in competition despite having a poor run of results in warm-up games. In 1994 the super eagles lost their warm-up games to Sweden and Romania prior to the world cup but still put up a display that got them voted the best entertaining team after eventual winners Brazil.
The West African country have been backed by many analysts with Jose Mourinho, Bora Multinovic, Finidi George and a host of other local and international football tacticians. The High optimism around the media have been expressed and all that is left is for the players to replicate that faith on the pitch. Saturday begins another journey for the team