16th June, 2018
As the Nigerian Super Eagles prepare to take on Croatia this evening at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Competition in their opening Group D fixture in Kalinigrad, Russia, Nigerians as usual, have been making a lot of permutations as far as what the result is likely to be especially with the recent performances of the team in friendly matches.
However, there is another angle to all the permutations as the people keep wondering what the likely starting line-up will be as well as what formation will be deployed by the team’s coach. It is believed that these factors will determine how well the Super Eagles will perform against Croatia today.
If the rumour mills are to be trusted, then the team will have 19-year-old Deportivo La Coruna goalkeeper Francis Uzoho in goal. The right full-back position will have either Shehu Abdulahi or Tyronne Ebuehi in place. None of the players mentioned above have played in the World Cup before.
Yet another World Cup debutant in person of Byran Idowu might just be picked ahead of Elderson Echiejile in the left full-back position due to form. The Amkar Perm defender has featured in all Nigeria’s pre-World Cup friendlies but has never played in the tournament proper.
The injury doubts over Leon Balogun could see Rohr decide to play a 3-5-2 formation with John Ogu made to play on the left of a back three on his debut appearance for Nigeria at the World Cup alongside another debutant William Troost-Ekong in defence.
John Ogu has played in the position in his last two games for Nigeria. He has also been playing as a centre-back in training.
At the midfield end, fit-again Wilfred Ndidi is set to make his first World Cup appearance alongside captain Mikel Obi while in attack Changchun Yatai striker Odion Ighalo and Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi are also expected to make their first Mundial appearances.
All in all, the Super Eagles will likely be fielding about eight players who have never played at the World Cup before now. Whether that turns out to be an advantage or dis-advantage is to be seen later this evening as the team plays its first match in this year’s competition.
One thing that is for sure however, is the fact that the result of this match will go a long way in determining whether the Super Eagles of Nigeria will qualify for the next round of this competition.