Nigeria to Surprise in FIFA World Cup Opener | Kwesé

Nigeria to Surprise in FIFA World Cup Opener

Nigeria to Surprise in FIFA World Cup Opener

11:45 SAST | 14 Jun 2018

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Nigeria’s coach Gernot Rohr, of Germany, has not revealed his starting eleven for Nigeria’s opening game against Croatia, preferring to announce the team at the last minute.

Nigeria vs Croatia (Kwesé Free Sports, 16 June at 20:45 CAT)

As Rohr commented, “We have our team in our head already, but we will wait until the last moment to publish the team that will start the game.” Nigeria have struggled in recent matches, losing to England, Serbia and the Czech Republic in warmup friendlies. Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel (who was recently announced as a brand ambassador for Kwesé Sports) seems unfazed by the losses, putting them down to experimentation: “It was a good time for us (also) to try different formations and different players.”

Could Brian Idowu benefit from the experimentation? KweséESPN journalist Ed Dove has identified ‘five under-the-radar African World Cup stars’, mentioning that Brian Idowu may just be the man to replace the struggling Elderson Echiejile on the left flank of Nigeria’s back three. Interestingly, Idowu was born in Russia and plays in their domestic league. And, it was Idowu who came off the bench to score against Argentina in a recent friendly. Nigeria would love to take that confidence into their clash against the South Americans.

Nigeria vs Argentina (Kwesé Free Sports, 26 June at 19:45 CAT)

Mikel mentioned in a recent interview with Kwesé Sports that he wants his team to play their own game, “We like to be in possession of the ball, to control the game.” And on the eve of the opening of the FIFA World Cup he made a similar comment, “We want to be Nigeria and play our way.”

FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony (Kwesé Free Sports, 14 June at 16:00 CAT)

As the excitement builds so the expectation grows on the Super Eagles. Should they beat Croatia, then the path clears for a last-16 appearance.

Nigeria vs Iceland (Kwesé Free Sports, 22 June at 16:45 CAT)

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