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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Group B - Nigeria

Nickname – Super Eagles

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING

The Super Eagles built their unbeaten record in the qualifying stages. First Round they collected 18 points out of possible 18 defeating Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and the surprise second place Sierra Leone. Then moving to the final round of qualification they managed to keep their unbeaten run, even though unpleasant times almost knocked them out after 3 consecutive draws, they managed to take 3 triumphs and particularly with a talisman Obinna scoring deep into the last breath of the game on the Mozambique clash.

H2H

Jun 12 Johannesburg Argentina v Nigeria - Argentina have never lost against Nigeria. Their most recent run sees them not conceding goals even though their defensive game is not the most brilliant.

Jun 17 Bloemfontein Greece v Nigeria - Payback time. Who will be the best in this clash? Nigeria won 0-2 vs Greece in the 1994 World Cup and later in 1999 on a friendly match Greece repaid with a 2-0 victory.

Jun 22 Durban Nigeria v South Korea - Having played twice in 2001 in a space of 2 days. The South Koreans took the best of it getting a 2-2 draw and three days after winning against the Super Eagles by the lowest of margins 2-1. Still, that was a prelude to what South Korea would deliver in the 2002 World Cup.

Goalkeepers: Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei Yehuda), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikvah), Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv)

Defenders: Dele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam), Rabiu Afolabi (Red Bull Salzburg), Elderson Echiejile (Stade Rennes), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow), Danny Shittu (Bolton Wanderers), Taye Taiwo (Olympique Marseille), Joseph Yobo (Everton)

Midfielders: Yusuf Ayila (Dynamo Kiev), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham), Sani Kaita (Alania Vladikavhaz), Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth), Haruna Lukman (Monaco), John Obi Mikel (Chelsea), Kalu Uche (Almeria), John Utaka (Portsmouth)

Strikers: Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Everton), Obafemi Martins (VfL Wolfsburg), Obinna Nsofor (Malaga), Chinedu Obasi (Hoffenheim), Peter Odemwingie (Lokomotiv Moscow)

FORMATION

Lagerback might not have the adequate amount of time to explore is traditional 4-1-3-2 formation having beyond their defensive midfielder the 3 attacking midfielders often regarded as their providers, but lacking creativity from the past, can they make this continental formation work?

Enyeama; Shittu, Odiah, Taiwo, Apam; Obi Mikel, Etuhu, Kaita, Obinna; Martins, Obasi.

BEST PLAYERS

Obafemi Martins plays for Wolfsburg and had spells with Internazionale & Newcastle. He is one of the quickest strikers playing nowadays and surely he will be noticed after having 15 international goals under his signature.

Obi Mikel is a stunning defensive midfielder that makes part of the constant XI of Chelsea as well of Nigeria’s. His tackling efficiency on the field alongside his skill to break-up and destroy opposition’s style of play makes him an invaluable asset wherever he steps into.

Obinna is a very quick winger that is currently on loan at Malaga from Internazionale having previously played for Chievo. Has scored 6 goals out of 16 appearances and is a precious member of the Nigeria’s attacking formation.

Kanu is a 33 year old striker that plays for Portsmouth and was often labeled as the best African ever player before he succumbed to heart problems. Still his massive juggling control and his experience assume vital importance in the Lars Lagerback squad. Ajax, Internazionale, Arsenal, Portsmouth are some of the clubs were he operated around 100 goals mark.

SURPRISE

The only notable omission from Lagerback’s squad was the midfielder Seyi Olofinjana from Hull City.

STATEMENTS

"We know that we will have a tough job at the World Cup. We are up against some tough teams like Argentina, with top players like [Lionel] Messi. It's important for us to prove that we can play our own game against the best," Nigeria forward Chinedu Obasi.

- Lars Lagerbäck –

Career made of 133 matches with 44% Win, 29% Draw, 26% Loss, GS 1,59 GA 0,93

SWOT ANALYSIS

Strength – Their imperial attacking force;

Nigeria’s game approach based essentially on specific details such as their pace, stamina, strength and impressive dribbling.

Weaknesses – Lars Lagerback very recent appointment providing limited preparation time for his input formation.

Nigeria’s often regarded as a top football but fails to deliver that status when it comes to top competitions. Their sense of stability does not exist and their Swedish coach will be under constant pressure to present positive results under his conservative approach in a squad made of individuals much more than a whole team.

Opportunities – One of their weaknesses might turn into an opportunity as we talk about individual performance. Most important matches are often decided on one-on-one situations and with the strength alongside skills combined with the pace of the super eagle’s players might allow an opening for their flawless performing.

Threats – South Korea’s attacking approaching may upset Nigeria’s back line that it is not so strong.

The Nigeria’s lack of objectivity, in case players perform on their own to try to valorize themselves individually.

Much of Nigeria’s hopes rely on the way they Argentina play. Because Super Eagles never won against Argentina and will not happen this time, so they should settle their aim for the second place where second match against Greece is going to be vital.

FIFA WORLD RANKINGS

Nigeria lie in the position number 20 of the ranking ahead of Australia, Slovenia and Switzerland but behind of Cameroon, Uruguay, Mexico, Serbia and USA.

ACHIEVEMENTS

2 African Cup on Nations - 1980, 1994;

1 Olympic Gold Medal – 1996

CASTROL INDEX

LATEST 10 MATCHES

Nigeria 2 2 Tunisia

Nigeria 1 0 Mozambique

Kenya 2 3 Nigeria

Egypt 3 1 Nigeria

Nigeria 1 0 Benin

Nigeria 3 0 Mozambique

Zambia 0 0 Nigeria

Ghana 1 0 Nigeria

Nigeria 1 0 Algeria

Nigeria 5 2 DR Congo

Nigeria 1 1 Columbia


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