Beaten 2-0 by Croatia, the young team from Nigeria has compromised their chances of qualifying in the round of 16 of the World Cup, June 17, 2018 in Kaliningrad. The Super Eagles were naive and hesitant, which does not bode well for them, before facing Iceland on June 22 in Volgograd.
Gernot Rohr, the coach of the Nigeria team, decided to focus on youth for this 2018 World Cup. For the moment, the facts have proved him wrong, with a first defeat against Croatia (0-2), in group D, June 17 in Kaliningrad.
“I think we did our best but we did not get enough opportunities, sighs the striker Odion Ighalo, weaned balloons and helpless during this entry in the running. The first goal, we cashed on a deviation [against his camp Oghenekaro Etebo]. The second, we conceded it on penalty kick.”
Luka Modric’s goal in the second half completed “Super Eagles” without any ideas or resources.
“I do not think at all that it was an easy match, trying to put the Croatian midfielder in perspective. We scored this first goal [in the 32nd minute], at the perfect moment.”
“Then everything was easier for us. It’s not that our match was bad before that. But it made things easier. Our victory is deserved. Nigeria is a good team. I think they will score points in their next matches.”
“My players need a little time”
To achieve this, on June 22 against Iceland, not the choice according to the Nigerian captain John Obi Mikel.
“We’re going to have to get better,” said the midfielder.
“We will have to improve as a team.”
And there’s work to do with the unusually dark look of Gerno Rohr. The German-French technician knew that his team was not ready. But he might not have measured everything he needed to be able to meet the Croatian, Icelandic and Argentinean people.
“We have to admit that Croatia had a better team tonight. And my young players made mistakes, especially corners, when we worked so much”, he laments.
“They need a little time. They learn. They were a little naive on the set pieces. But we will work on it.”
Will this suffice against Icelanders who held 1-1 Argentina’s Lionel Messi in check?