By Johnny Edward:
Former Super Eagles winger Emmanuel Amuneke has warned that the team risk crashing out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the group stages if they do not improve on their performances before their opening game against Croatia, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
The Super Eagles suffered a 1-0 defeat to Czech Republic on Wednesday in their final pre-World Cup game in Austria.
Tomas Kalas tapped in a rebound in the 25th minute from close range to hand Nigeria their third defeat in five games leading to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off Thursday next week in Russia.
“It was not a good game, we must be honest with ourselves but there’s room for improvement,” the former African Footballer of the Year told CSN.
“The team still needs more intensive sessions before the Croatia game. These games have shown that there are several lapses in the team generally that they must work on before Nigeria’s first game.
“We could still correct them as we have 10 more days to our first game against Croatia.
“They (Nigeria) changed formations in the second half which was good, the players are trying to understand the philosophy of the coach but their reaction to the second balls was slow and they were are not quick enough when challenging the Czech players.”
He also expressed his displeasure on the team’s set-piece defending.
“The defenders didn’t show more awareness and aggression in dealing with set pieces. They must be winning all the second balls,” Amuneke, who coached the Golden Eaglets to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2015, added.
Nigeria will face Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in Group D at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.