This is not the first time Nigeria will be appearing in the FIFA World Cup, the first was in 1994 where they reached the second round. However, they will be making their sixth appearance at the finals in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Nigeria full Squad
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba), Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United).
Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor), Tyronne Ebuehi (Den Haag), Elderson Echiejile (Brugge), Bryan Idowu (Amkar Perm), Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes), William Ekong (Bursaspor), Leon Balogun (Brighton), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa).
Midfielders: John Obi Mikel (Tianjin TEDA), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester), Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas), John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Joel Obi (Torino).
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone).
Nigeria journey to the World Cup
Nigeria, who were grouped alongside Cameroon, Zambia, and Algeria, kicked off their campaign in style, with a vital 2-1 win against Zambia, before an emphatic 3-1 win over Algeria. Later on, they went ahead and thrashed Cameroon 4-0. The return leg against the Indomitable Lions yielded a one-all draw, right before they completed the double over Zambia with a 1-0 win, which saw them qualify for Russia with a game to spare. Algeria ended in a 1-1 draw, with Yacine Brahimi converting a rather controversial late penalty to cancel out John Ogu’s opener.
Nigeria key players to watch
Alex Iwobi (Arsenal)
Iwobi played a vital role for his securing qualification for the World Cup. His winner against Zambia last October following a sweeping move involving Moses and Odion Ighalo effectively secured Nigeria’s berth at this World Cup.
John Obi Mikel (Tianjin TEDA)
Mikel, who played for Chelsea and currently playing for China will wear the captain’s armband for the Super Eagles during the tournament.
Victor Moses (Chelsea)
Moses has earned 33 caps for the Super Eagles scoring 11 goals. His blend of defensive grit and hard running will help Nigeria at the back and crucially going forward.
Group stage fixtures
16 June: Nigeria v Croatia, Kaliningrad
22 June: Nigeria v Iceland, Volgograd
26 June: Nigeria v Argentina, St. Petersburg
Nigeria has decided to entrust German coach, Gernot Rohr to take the green men at least past the round of 16 stage. However, the tactician is confident that his side will give Zlatko Dalic men a tough test at the Kaliningrad Arena on Saturday.
Nigeria can trouble a lot of teams going forward since they have plenty of talent up front and could be a lot to handle for Croatia, Iceland and even Argentina all of whom have questionable backends.
The defense could be in trouble since there are not many world-class players back there and it would not be a surprise to see Moses shuffled back there to try and plug some leaks.
Nigeria will be hoping to better their performance when they face Argentine, Croatia, and dark horses Iceland in group D.