Super Eagles lose last friendly to Czech Republic 1-0
World cup bound Super Eagles suffered a yet another defeat yesterday losing to the Czech Republic 1-0 in their final warm-up match before action kicks off in Russia.
Chelsea defender Tomas Kalas scored the only goal of the game in the first half. After the Nigerian Team failed to clear their Lines.
You will recall the super eagles also lost 2-1 to England last weekend, while the Czechs – who failed to qualify for the World Cup – lost 4-0 to Australia in their previous friendly outing.
Nigeria will face Argentina, Croatia and Iceland in Group D in Russia. But on the strength of the display yesterday do not look in any kind of good form heading to the competition. Besides Iwobi, Ndidi, Ebuehi, Uzoho and Maybe Ogu, The rest of the team looked well off the pace. Although ill also say here that you cannot judge too much from a pre-Worldcup friendly. At this hour, many players are being wary not to cop any Injury that would almost certainly rule them out of the competition.
However a worrying observation from the last two games played is our susceptibility to conceding from dead balls. We do not take advantage of set pieces when they are given to us yet the moment we concede them we let in a goal due to poor defensive organization. And in the World cup where games will be tight, just one corner or free-kick could settle it. Coach Gernot Rohr insists the team is notready yet. I don’t know if its mind games just to give croatia and our other group opponents a false sense of security, but that comment is not re-assuring at all.
In the game clear cut Chances where few and far between, Moses had a lucky chance when the ball fell to him in the box from a right hand cross, but he couldn’t sort his feet out before being tackled. A long rage effort from Ogu went narrowly wide, so did a good header from Mikel off of a corner kick.
Alex Iwobi Arsenal forward looked to be the most Creative axis for Nigeria, and if it continues the Coach will do well to start him in a slightly more central position while Mikel is given a berth in the deeper lying playmaker role so that the Youngster can dictate play more. You get the feeling this team needs at least another month to get into some kind of form like they showed last year but unfortunately they only have ninedays. Whatever the Magic Rohr has to get them in shape before we line up against Croatia, he needs to inculcate it now
Their opening game is against Croatia in Kaliningrad on 16 June.
Despite the defeat, there was some encouraging news for Nigeria as Leicester midfielder Wilfred Ndidi – who had been out since April with a hamstring injury – started the game.