Match Analysis – Nigeria vs. Croatia
As the games continue in this year’s World Cup, and as the enthusiastic fans all around the world keenly watch this year’s number event, we can gladly confirm that it has not fallen short of excitement. People who do a lot of sports betting online have been able to cash in big wins so far.
The first encounter, between Argentina and Iceland, in group D, was amazing and did not fall short of excitement in any areas. We witnessed how Iceland managed to hold back star-studded Argentina team to finally take home a 1-1 draw. Aguero scored the opener for the Argentines in the 19th minutes of the game and not short thereafter Finnbogasson, of Iceland, manage to score an equalizer in the 23rd minute of the game. Lionel Messing almost restored the Argentines lead, but luckily for Iceland, he missed a spot kick in the 64th minute of the game. The people who put a bet on a draw won a lot of money.
Nigeria’s first game ended up in worldwide frustration
Nigeria squared up against the Croatians and unfortunately lost by 2-0. Super Eagles fans all around the world were gutted and disappointed by the poor performance and commitment that the Eagles had shown. Fans did not waste time to voice out there anger and frustration through various social media platforms and therefore it’s very important that we take a close look and access the team performance.
Firstly, the team have serious issues with defending set pieces and both goals, conceded by the Super Eagles, came through set pieces, which the team could have dealt with much better. Looking at the situations now, the Super Eagles ought to have done better in those situations. Matching opposite player’s, man on man, relieve pressure from the back line during these set plays is what a disciplined team would have done, and so must the Super Eagles. There is nothing more demoralizing than conceding goals from set pieces, be it from a corner kick, free kicks or penalty kick. The Super Eagles need to work harder in this area of their game to be able to compete against the better teams in this tournament.
Secondly, there was absolutely no connection between the midfield and forward players. This left the striker Odion Jude Ighalo completely isolated from the rest of the team. The formation 4-2-3-1 was completely ineffective and their play was, unfortunately, a total disaster. The buildup and passes from the midfield were slow and sloppy and there was absolutely no power from the midfielders. Most of us expected the Coach to take out Mike Obi and play Alex Iwobi or Oghenekaro Etebo up in that position, since playing Mike Obi in the no 10 position was a horrible mistake. The team does have other midfielders who could have done much better in the game.
On top of what we just mentioned, the Coach could have tweaked his formation to a more offensive 3-5-2, since the team was already down by one goal before Luka Modric scored the second goal for Croatia after Ekong fouled Mario Mandzukic in the box while defending a set piece.
Also, not much was seen from the full backs, especially in the right back position where Shehu Abdulahi was occupying. He would have done better or more by dishing out gold passes, taking on players from the flank and delivering good crosses. Bryan Idowu was also as guilty as charged in those situations too.
Everything wasn’t bad
On the plus side, we saw that some of the players showed good strength and character until the end of the match. Oghenekaro Etebo attempted nine dribbles and they were all successful and despite the fact that the first goal deflected off him, and was counted as own goal, he kept cool, remained disciplined and was visible until the end of the game.
For the Super Eagles to make it to the next round, the team must maintain tactical discipline and work harder to score goals, because goals win matches and goal difference may come to play after the round of games are played in the group stages. The team also need to stop conceding fouls in dangerous areas. The players need to give everything to make sure that they get the remaining 6 points that are left in the group in order to qualify.
Rohr also needs to make tactical and energetic plays and substitutions. He needs to get the best out of these professional players and we belie he should drop Mikel from the starting line up and move Alex Iwobi, or Etebo, into the #10 position.
We the fans want to see our team progress to the next phase of this competition so, we have to support the team until the end.
Soar Super Eagles.
Author: Aniukwu Tochukwu Aniukwu (Esq)
Contact details: whyteaniukwu (@) gmail.com