Eagles’ BEST Eleven Ahead Of World Cup Clashes In Russia

Eagles’ BEST Eleven Ahead Of World Cup Clashes In Russia

The Super Eagles are 15 days away from their Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup first Group D match against Croatia in Kaliningrad. Gernot Rohr on Wednesday dropped four players from his 30-man provisional list, thus making his final 23 predictable. Completesportsnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD looks at the eleven players who fits Rohr’s likely 4-3-3 line-up formation for the game against Croatia on June 16, barring any last minute injury.



Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna)

Since his debut for Nigeria in the 4-2 international friendly win over Argentina last November, Francis Uzoho has continued to grow in confidence and composure in goal for Nigeria. Though he has kept only one clean sheet in three starts (four appearances in all) for Nigeria, Uzoho remains the best performing goalkeeper in the team at the moment. With Ikechukwu Ezenwa dropped and Daniel Akpeyi still not back to his very best, Uzoho remains a sure bet to be in goal for Nigeria in Russia.

Zenith Ziva

It’s unfortunate that Francis Uzoho could only manage two appearances for the first team of Deportivo La Coruna before his move to the B team in the third tier division in Spain where he kept 15 clean sheets and conceded 17 goals in 26 appearances.


Shehu Abdulahi (Bursaspor)

Shehu Abdullhi remains the best option for the Super Eagles at right-back. The duo of Ola Aina and Tyronne Ebuehi have not posted convincing performances to prove that they can dislodge him in that position. Since his move away from Anorthosis Famagusta of Cyprus, Abdullahi has improved with deliveries, and on his back-tracking as well.


Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge)

AS Monaco defender, Echiejile, is not up to his best level but in terms of his experience, has an edge over Bryan Idowu and Ola Aina who are in competition for the two available spots at left back with him. The pair of Idowu and Aina lack experience at the biggest stage and both have not been convincing in the games they have played for the team.

The 30 year old defender made his most recent appearance for the Super Eagles in Monday’s 1-1 draw with DR Congo and was replaced at half time following his below par performance, but he remains the first choice pick.


Leon Balogun and William Troost Ekong

Fondly dubbed the Oyinbo wall, the duo of Leon Balogun and William Troost Ekong have formed a great partnership playing together in the heart of the Super Eagles defence. They look guaranteed as the first choice starters as he Super Eagles’ centre-backs in Russia. Ekong’s aerial prowess and pace have also been complemented with Balogun’s brilliance, ball-winning and passing skills.


Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor)

Since recovering from the hamstring injury he copped while playing for his club, Trabzonspor, Ogenyi Onazi is gradually getting back into good shape. His performance for his club towards the end of the 2017/18 campaign has seen him play his way back into Gernot Rohr’s plans for the World Cup.

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)

Ndidi enjoyed an outstanding season with Leicester City in the English Premier League season until he sustained an hamstring injury. The 21 year old midfielder was perhaps the most in-form Nigerian midfielder until his injury. He is expected to play a part in Saturday’s international friendly against England at Wembley.

Ndidi, who was voted Leicester City’s Young Player of the Year has flourished playing alongside Onazi in the defensive midfield role.

Mikel Obi (Tianjin TEDA)

Super Eagles captain, Mikel Obi brings the creative spark for the team going forward. His wealth of experience will be massively needed by the team to unlock tight defences. His guile and calmness on the ball helped the three-time African champions dictate the pace of the game during the qualifiers. If the Super Eagles are to shine in Russia, Mikel must be at his very best to help the team blossom.


Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow/ Leicester City)

Ahmed Musa’s scoring form improved when he joined CSKA Moscow on loan from Leicester City in January, and that also helped him play his way back into reckoning with the Super Eagles. Musa scored seven goals in 16 appearances for the Russian side after a miserable first half of the season with Leicester City, where he made only one appearance for the first team. On current form, Musa will be preferred to Alex Iwobi who has been inconsistent and Moses Simon who is currently nursing a thigh injury.


Victor Moses (Chelsea)

Victor Moses had an outstanding season for Chelsea in the English Premier League as the dethroned champions salvaged their season by winning the Emirates FA Cup. Moses has been performing well at the l top level and his freshness heading into the World Cup will offer the Super Eagles another dimension in attack.


Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai)

Odion Ighalo is certain to start games for Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. He has shown that if he gets the creative support from the midfield, will deliver. The former Watford striker is capable of playing alone up front and will trouble defenders with his trickeries on the ball and pace. So far he has scored seven goals in 11 Chinese Super League games for his team, Changchun Yatai.

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  • This first eleven did not fit in our expectation ohhh. the left back should either Ogu or idowu. defensive mid field should be ndidi and joel. please restruture your list

  • Greenturf 3 years ago

    Well very thoughtful but I disagree with you on Musa,Echiejile and Onazi.
    I think the gaffer prefers Idowu in the left back.
    In the midfield the pair of Mikel and Ndidi are guaranteed but the other slot will be contested between Onazi and Joel.
    In the attack Musa is definitely not a starter.The trio of Moses,Simon and Iwobi respectively are ahead of him in the pecking order.
    Unless any last minute changes but as at present this is how the team is set up.

  • I have said it times whitout numbered that this johnney edward is not a sports journalist,he dosnt know anything about soccer

  • Diuto Nwachukwu 3 years ago

    @Ubah you & this Jonney Edward hmmmmm….Anyways, you’re somehow right bcos as a sports journalist i didn’t expect this kind of line-ups from him…

  • chybyke 3 years ago

    I See Nigeria playing a 3-5-2 formation

    shehu abdullahi isn’t a natural right wing back Ebuehi excels in that role more…Victor Moses can also play that role as well..lol..in the game against Argentina Rohr changed the formation at halftime…The introduction of moses simon,ihenancho,Simeon Nwankwo will change the formation to a 4-2-3-1 system..I won’t be surprised if they play a 3-4-3 system as well

    Gernot Rohr is truly a German tactician

  • chybyke 3 years ago

    I’m Expecting a 3-5-2 formation against England… they play the same system as well I’ll note the following


    It would be nice to see how SHEHU stops the threat from the right side of England’s attack..I would love to see his positioning,alertness,composure and his ability to turn defence into attack…Remember Young gave Moses a hardtime in the FA cup final..Shehu will have to be fully focused


    it’s no secret walker is the best right back in England..He is strong,powerful, fast and has a good crossing ability..Brian idowu will have to nullify that threat..England’s fullbacks can cause problems with their crosses into the box..Brian has to be alert as well


    They are both the focal point when starting their teams attacks..They’ll create chances,dictate the play,intensity, and speed of the game..they can also help in launching counterattacks..it’ll be interesting to see who’ll come up tops here


    Sterling’s twists and turns can open up any defence.. he can also kill the opponent with his pace and stamina…Balogun will have to be well positioned to keep Sterling at Bay..He’s a ball Playing defender so he’ll be tasked at starting attacks from the back and organizing his defence


    Stones is error prone so I want the fullbacks to play a high line and a pressing game to mount pressure on Stones maybe he’ll make an error where IGHALO can punish him with his pace,stamina and strength


    Kane will pose a threat aerially so ekong has to be well positioned to read that well…KANE is not a static Striker he’s always hovering around looking for space to Shoot… Ekong will have to organise and Marshall his defence..the defence also have to be compact as well

    I see the game ending in a draw… Correct score 2-2

  • John Warshow 3 years ago

    Mikel Obi will never ever do well in that match. If not for Musa and Onazi, we will not stand a chance

    • John Warshow, don’t b deceived by wat u think, this was not “mourinho turned to defensive midfielder mikel” he will surprise England tommorow

    • Pastor 3 years ago

      John wars how, if I got your name correct, let it not be you had a bad dream to your suggestion about Mikel. Just stop by to add you got it wrong on feels about Mikel role.

  • Alata Essien 3 years ago

    Onazi should be replaced with Etebo. Idowu in for Echiejile

  • That was the old brigade,
    Honestly, if that yeye Tammy Abraham had come, Kelechi Nwakali, I think they can displace Musa and Onazi in that team.
    That said, I believe, the starting lineup will look like this:
    1 UZOHO
    2 SHEHU
    3 Idowu
    4 Ndidi
    6 Ekong
    7 Iwobi
    8 Simmy Nwankwo
    9 Ighalo
    10 Mikel Obi
    11 Victor Moses
    Joel obi

    • Honestly this is the squad to use to prosecute our games at the world cup. It will be ideal against Iceland but against teams like Croatia and Argentina I will suggest we have 2 defensive midfielders with Ndidi and Joel obi or onazi as these teams strength lies in d midfield and 9ja has to neutralize the midfield to have a good chance of winning or taking a point from them. I will suggest your squad for the Iceland game to boost the team firepower but against Croatia and Argentina replace Simy with Joel obi to shore up the midfield. That is my take though d team selection rests with d coach.

  • I predict Mikel Obi to be the Man of the march

  • Modebei chukwudi 3 years ago

    Uzoho- Ebuehi, Balogun, Ekong, Idowu- Ndidi,Etebo – Iwobi, Mikel, Moses – Igholo. (4-2-3-1 formation OK)