Nigeria Must Improve Against Iceland & Silence Critics After Poor Ratings
Published: June 21, 2018
Nigeria Must Improve Against Iceland & Silence Critics After Poor Ratings
The Super Eagles must improve and silence critics after an abysmal opening game performance.

Following the lethargic 2-0 defeat to Croatia in their opening game of the 2018 World Cup, the Super Eagles have been rated as the 29th best out of 32 teams participating at the World Cup after the first round of games by British newspaper Daily Telegraph, in an appraisal of performance of all teams in the tournament.

While teams like Portugal, Spain and Mexico led the ratings lists based on stats, Nigeria were only rated to be better than Saudi Arabia that were hammered 5-0 in the opening game of the competition by host Russia and debutant Panama who were outclassed 3-0 by Belgium.

The Super Eagles have been subject to criticism after their overall below par performance against Croatia.

Some football pundits have criticized the defense section with Abdullahi Shehu errors, Leon Balogun’s aerial weakness and Troost-Ekong abysmal display.

Another school of thought has poured out the blame on the midfield for not creating a platform for the attackers to operate on.

While the attacking department has been criticized, the head coach Gernot Rohr has not be spared from the media onslaught as few of his tactical decisions have been questioned.

Nigeria Football News reports of how the German have been criticized by country’s legendary footballer Jay Jay Okocha over decision to field Mikel in the “No 10” role as well as his decision to given Abdullahi Shehu a nod ahead of Tyronne Ebuehi.

Out of Nigeria’s listless performance reports, a report wrote thus “A horrible performance from a group of players who didn’t seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager’s fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren’t allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this”.

Iceland on the other hand have refused to be buoyed by their recent shock 1-1 draw with 2014 finalists Argentina in their opening game.

The Iceland coach Hannes Halldorsson in his interview with FIFA TV admitted that they are not better than the Super Eagles though assures that the team will make good use of its strength when they meet on Friday.

This is not the first time the team has caused an upset as it eliminated England in the Euro 2016 knockout stage in France.

Iceland assistant coach Helgi Kolviðsson in an interview described the Nigerian team as an unpredictable and dangerous team.

“You know this kind of organization with Argentina. When Messi gets the ball, you know what’s next, the next things is that he takes off and finds the right pass” he told visir.is.

“Against Nigeria, you are not sure. They are unpredictable and are extremely dangerous in these things too”.

Nigeria will be depending on an outright win against Iceland at Volgograd Arena to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive.

The Nigeria team no doubt possesses both the talented and experienced players required to outclass the rookie team when they meet on Friday but  Gernot Rohr must get his tactical decision right this time around.

Iceland are not pushovers as they have already proved to play as a team despite not possessing the quality of players.

A win against Iceland will set the Super Eagles for a mouthwatering final group game against Argentina.

Igho Kingsley