2018 World Cup Preview – Nigeria

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Perhaps the best dressed side at the World Cup, Nigeria will hope that their play matches the quality of their kits when they take to the field against Croatia.

Nigeria World Cup Betting Markets

Stage of Elimination

  • Group Stage @ $1.29
  • Round of 16 @ $4.33
  • Quarter Final @ $13.00
  • Semi Final @ $26.00
  • Runners Up @ $81.00
  • Winners @ $151.00

Draw

Group:

Nigeria have been drawn in Group D alongside Argentina, Iceland and Croatia

Opponents:

Record vs Croatia – Never Played

Record vs Iceland – W: 0, D: 0, L: 1

Last Meeting – 22 August 1981: Nigeria lost to Iceland 0-3

Record vs Argentina – W:2, D: 1, L: 5

Last Meeting – 14 November 2017: Nigeria def Argentina 4-2

Schedule:

Sunday 17th June – 5:00am – Nigeria vs Croatia

Saturday 23rd June – 1:00am – Nigeria vs Iceland

Wednesday 27th June – 4:00am – Nigeria vs Argentina

Group Ranking:

For the third World Cup in a row and fourth in the last five, Nigeria have been drawn in the same group as Argentina, a stat which will make them very happy.

Of the four times they have met Argentina at the World Cup they have lost by one goal every time which does not bode well if they need a point or more from their last group game.

They also face two resolute defences in Croatia and Iceland and will be in for a real test if they are to come through this group.

Back Nigeria to Win Group G @ $11.00

World Cup History

Number of Appearances

5 – 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014

Best Performance

Round of 16 – 1994, 1998 & 2014

Match Record & Goals Tally

Played: 18, Won: 5, Drawn: 3, Lost: 10

Scored: 20, Conceded: 26

2018 Qualifying Campaign

Made the World Cup by…

Nigeria finished on top of CAF Qualification Group B giving them direct passage to Russia

Qualifying Record & Goals Tally

Played: 8, Won: 5, Drawn: 2, Lost: 1

Scored: 13, Conceded: 6

Story to Watch

One of Africa’s stronger entrants with plenty of players playing at the top level, they were almost unstoppable in qualifying.

Their only loss came after the fact when they were retrospectively awarded a 3-0 loss due to fielding a player that was suspended.

While this side might not evoke memories of teams of the past, they are more than capable of handling themselves on this occasion and the only question is whether their play will live up to the absolute gems Nike has served up for their uniform.

Nigeria 2018 World Cup Squad

GOALKEEPERS

Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi

DEFENDERS

William Troost-Ekong, Abdullahi Shehu, Tyronne Ebuehi, Elderson Echiejile, Bryan Idowu, Chidozie Awaziem, Leon Balogun, Kenneth Omeruo

MIDFIELDERS

Mikel John Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu, Joel Obi

FORWARDS

Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi, Simeon Nwankwo

Strengths

Nigeria comes into this tournament with one of the best attacking groups on offer with the likes of Odion Ighalo, Kelechi Ihenacho and Alex Iwobi all ready to break out on the national stage.

They have the players and the drive to put teams under pressure for sure and may find themselves in a couple of shootouts if they get going.

Weakness

If you find yourself searching for information on the Nigerian goalkeeper you are not alone with Ikechukwu Ezenwa plucked from the local leagues as the first choice almost by default.

That will place plenty of pressure on an untested defensive group that could slip up at the wrong time.

Notable Absentees

Goalkeeper Carl Ikeme had his playing career cut short after being diagnosed with leukemia however he has been named as an honorary member of the Nigerian team.

Key Player

John Obi Mikel

His move to China notwithstanding, the former Chelsea midfielder’s leadership will be critical to Nigeria.

Final Prediction

Nigeria will be one of the more entertaining sides to watch in the Group Stage and are a chance to steal a win against Croatia or Iceland early on.

PREDICTION: GROUP STAGE

Best Bet: Alex Iwobi as Nigeria’s Top Goalscorer @ $5.50

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