World Cup: England Feel Nigeria Heat

Nigeria News takes a look at the friendly match between Nigeria and England towards 2018 world cup.

Depleted, flat-footed, uncoordinated, the Super Eagles played without form against the three lions of England. And within seven minutes, Gary Cahill had put England in front with a scintillating goal.

Eagles trailed the three lions for the most part of the half with no answer from the midfield play of the trio of Mikel Obi, Joel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi.

It became a one-sided affair as the English took over the Wembley, dexterously displaying skills, which resulted in the second goal at 30 minutes. Harry Cane doubled the lead before the close of the first half.

However, the game changed dramatically in the second half when a low shot from Odion Ighalo hit the foot of the bar but was skillfully slotted into the net by Alex Iwobi in 47 minutes.

The goal brought back the Eagles to life as the captain of the side, Mikel Obi suddenly found his rhythm. Nigeria took control of the midfield and pressed further to gain an equalizer that never came.

The second half, of course, showed some flashes from the three-time African Champions but their efforts did not result in any goal.

Three Lions is a strong team but most Nigeria players in Saturday friendly are familiar with many of the England players. The sudden change of the Super Eagles’ approach in the second half showed that the team could actually spring a surprise in the world cup.

The change came with the introduction of John Ogu in the midfield. He brought life to the centre circle to reveal the weakness of Mikel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi who lost ball easily to the opponents.

For Nigeria to do well in Russia, Coach Gernot Rohr must be decisive on who to use between John Ogu and Onazi. To me, Onazi has no business in Super Eagles with his recent performances. He is heavy and unproductive in the midfield.  Mike Obi is too slow and if he must play a good role in the Eagles line up, the captain must step up his game.

Having played an unimpressive game with DR. Congo in Port Harcourt, the Super Eagles were able to redeem their image but not until the second half against England on Saturday.

Leicester City midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi was not used by Coach Gernot Rohr. Ndidi is strong and could have helped a lot in the centre but the coach would not risk the player who is just coming back from injury.

After Congo match, Rohr said that Ndidi would not play against England but would be allowed to take more rest as the player recuperated from injury. Ndidi has been undergoing personal training and according to Rohr, the player would be fit before Nigeria’s opening match with Croatia on June 16.

There are more positives from the match; these include the ability of the Super Eagles to come back into the game after 0-2 down against the three lions.

It will be recalled that the Super Eagles once came back in a friendly match against Argentina in Russia. Having conceded two quick goals, Nigeria replied the South Americans with four goals.

This is a strength the team will be taken to the world cup, which of course its opponents must work on.

Nigeria is in group D, which has Argentina, Croatia and Iceland. It is the underdog of the group.

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