Russia 2018: Super Eagles Set To Depart Austria For World Cup
The Super Eagles will fly out of their Avita Resort in Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Austria, to Russia on Monday for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, officials of the team have announced.
This will be the sixth appearance for Nigeria at the World Cup since making a memorable debut in the USA in 1994.
Having been able to navigate their way through the ‘Group of Death’ in the African qualifying series, the Super Eagles, who were the first African team to reach the finals in Russia, have been playing series of friendly games to be in tune for the World Cup.
The Eagles have played against Argentina, Poland, Serbia, DR Congo, England and Czech Republic in friendlies, winning two, drawing one and losing three.
For Coach Gernot Rohr, though the statistics from these friendly encounters are not in any way fantastic, he is happy that Nigeria will widely be seen as underdogs.
“We are okay with the garb of the underdog. But the defeats have done something for us – we have our heads firmly on our shoulders and we are focused.
“Together, we have reviewed the matches and learnt so many lessons. We will approach the World Cup matches differently,” Rohr said.
Nigeria’s first match of the finals is against Croatia on Saturday, with the Eagles logging a balanced record of having won their
opening match at the World Cup on two occasions, drawn once and lost twice.
On the three occasions, they have not lost their opening match (1994, 1998, 2014). The Eagles progressed to the Round of 16.
Rohr has only lost one competitive game since taking over the Super Eagles two years ago, and the former German international defender says his wards know how to up their game when the match kicks off at the Kaliningrad Arena on Saturday.
“We will take it one match at a time. I love this group because we know how to rise to the occasion together. Nigeria will be ready for Croatia,” Rohr assured.
NIGERIA’S 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho; Daniel Akpeyi; Ikechukwu Ezenwa
Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu; Tyronne Ebuehi; William Ekong; Leon Balogun; Chidozie Awaziem; Elderson Echiejile; Kenneth Omeruo; Bryan Idowu
Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi; Mikel John Obi; Ogenyi Onazi; John Ogu; Oghenekaro Etebo; Joel Obi
Forwards: Odion Ighalo; Victor Moses; Simeon Nwankwo; Alex Iwobi; Ahmed Musa; Kelechi Iheanacho