Mikel: Eagles happy to be underrated

With unimpressive shows in their last two friendlies against England and Czech Republic, Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel says the Super Eagles are happy to be underrated heading into the 2018 World Cup.

With a tough group stage ahead of them – which will see Nigeria play Croatia, Iceland and Argentina – the West Africans are already being written off by critics.

Mikel, who will skipper the team in his second World Cup after playing in Brazil 2014, says the Super Eagles are capable of surprising their opponents.

“We like where we’ve been placed. We don’t want to be one of the favourites,” Mikel told Al Jazeera.

“I think this will give the team enough motivation to prove critics wrong that we can actually do better than they actually feel.”

Nigeria will open their World Cup campaign on Saturday night with a clash against Croatia in Kaliningrad.

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