By Nnamdi Ezekute In Kaliningrad:
Super Eagles defender, Leon Balogun, believes that the team did not turn out badly despite losing 2-0 to Croatia in Kaliningrad Russia on Saturday – their first Group D match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
“We lost this game (Vs Croatia) and it’s gone. As a team, no need to dwell on that, but just have to learn from the mistakes and prepare to win the next match,” Balogun told CSN after the match.
“Yes, we lost through set-pieces. It was tough, both in defending set-pieces and trying to get goals through set-pieces.
“I think that generally, we didn’t create many chances. However, there is no need to drop our heads because of this loss. Of course, we need to look dangerous offensively. It was not that bad as we were confident with the ball, but we need to create more chances.
“Of course, we never thought we would lose the match. Imagine what a win could have done for us – something like a 50, 60 per cent progress towards advancing from the group.
“Now we have two very important games remaining in the group, and we have to win, at least, one and of course watch what happens in the other games of our group opponents.
“The best we can do now is to focus on ourselves, criticize and analyse what went wrong and what we did well too, and stick to a positive mentality.”
On whether the Super Eagles played against a very tough and experience Croatia team, Balogun disagreed.
He remarked: “With the way we played against them, and our confidence on the ball, I don’t think we played against a very experienced side, correct me if I was wrong. I don’t feel we were a poor in the game, we didn’t play badly. Of course, there are things to learn from it and get good results from the next games.
“The Croatians were good, and calm in the game. If they didn’t have the ball, they stayed in their positions. That worked for them. Maybe we can learn from that. I am optimistic going forward from here.”