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Finidi: Why Eagles Should Play 3-5-2, Beware Of ‘Dangerous’ Iceland

Finidi: Why Eagles Should Play 3-5-2, Beware Of ‘Dangerous’ Iceland

By Kayode Ogundare:

Former Nigerian international winger Finidi George has expressed his desire to see the Super Eagles, who are currently preparing for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, stick to the 3-5-2 formation as well as be wary of group opponents Iceland who are making their debut in the competition.


Speaking on a television sports programme monitored in Lagos on Thursday morning, Finidi claimed that the Super Eagles have always played well each time they switch to the 3-5-2 and, as such, the Gernot Rorh led technical crew should perfect the formation to maximize the players strength.

He said: “No matter how good a team is, they must have a formation that they are comfortable with and which brings out the best in them. And no matter how good a formation is, if the players are not comfortable with it then it will just be like a waste of time. You need players who are intelligent enough to translate whatever formation the team is playing on the pitch. And the Super Eagles have shown in their games that they respond better to the 3-5-2 than any other formation. So I say why not stick to it? It’s good when you can switch from one formation to another but it’s better when you always start with your best foot forward rather than scrambling to change formation when you are already losing.”

Zenith Ziva

The former Ajax Amsterdam of Holland star also warned Nigeria to be wary of debutants Iceland because nothing much is known about them and this could make them dangerous customers.

“They [Iceland] remind me of Nigeria in 1994. We went to the World Cup as African champions but not much was known about us so we were able to surprise a lot of people and we could have gone very far if we had a little more luck. Iceland are good if you consider what they did at the European championships in 2016. The fact that they qualified for the World Cup is also an indication of their strength so we must be careful so that they don’t spring a surprise on us particularly as they will play us in the second match,” he continued.

Finidi, who also won the Champions League in 1995, was emphatic about the need for the Eagles to play more as a team rather than the individual game they’ve been playing of recent.

“They need to play more as a unit but we have not been seeing much of that recently. They also tend to leave too much space in the midfield and against midfielders like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic you will be punished if you get careless. If we play 3-5-2, we can put more bodies in the midfield and stop them from taking control of the midfield. Whatever we do, we must not lose our first game. It is very important.

“For Argentina, they cannot afford to over concentrate on Lionel Messi. There are other good players in their teams and if we successfully stop Messi but fail to stop the others it would have been all labour lost,” he concluded.

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  • nice one mr george.

  • Onyeagoro Johnson Chima 3 years ago

    That is just the solution. 3-5-2 formation is the best as it will help us pack the midfield without leaving any space for the opposing team to operate. Messi pointed it out that the Super Eagles do leave too much space for the opposing team to operate on, which is a weakness in the team.

  • PapaFem 3 years ago

    That’s a brilliant contribution from Finidi. Hope Rohr is reading this. Mandzukic in the attack for the Croats will be rendered ineffective if there are no supply from the midfield trio of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, and Mateo Kovacic. If we have enough people in that middle, players who could mark, fight for each and use the ball well, we are as good as winning the match. One beauty of the system Finidi suggested is the flexibility, both on the offensive and defensive sides of the game. The wing-backs are like deep-seated attackers, giving us additional variation and manpower at both ends of the pitch. When we win the ball, the wings will be free enough for quick release. When defending, the initially 3 at the back can always become 5. Because of the distractions coming from the wings for our opponents, we can always have reasonable passing areas infield to take charge of games. My only fear is Idowu. He’s not too dynamic going forward. As earlier said, a good wing back should possess considerable attacking qualities. From dribbling to passing, crossing to scoring, he should be a very useful option when goals are to be scored or defended. Idowu, to me, doesn’t cut this figure. He seems very good defensively though. Maybe Moses could help out. After all, he does this weak in, weak out for Chelsea. In the midfield, its almost given that Mikel and Ndidi will play. But I’ll like to see Etebo farther afield. His energy level, speed and tenacity troubled our opponents in the last two friendlies. That’s an eye opener. Its a known fact that Obi is slow on the ball and that Ndidi will always play deeper, shielding the defence, breaking up play and anchoring the ploy to starve Mandzukic of useful passes. Someone is needed to provide the needed pace to link our midfield with attack. If Iwobi, Moses and Ighalo are well fed, Croatian’s defence will sure carve in. Wishing our dear Super Eagles the very best in Russia.

    • Samson Gbenga Ojo 3 years ago

      Yes! You nailed it… I am of the opinion that Victor Moses should be used as a wing-back for that 3-5-2 formation just like he does for Chelsea.

      Now let’s do the math together… Uzoho between the sticks; John Ogu, Leon Balogun and Troost-Ekong as Centre-backs; Victor Moses and Brian Idowu as Wing-backs; Obi Mikel and Ndidi as AM and DM respectively; Odion Ighalo as the lone striker and Alex Iwobi on a free role.


  • Everyone is talking about this 3:5:2 formation as if it a mantra that will SURELY delivery the cup. Some countries certainly have solutions to crack 352. We should therefore read the game as it will be going on and continue to change. You may be shocked that 424 may actually be more useful in some games. Up eagles

  • Sir Dammy 3 years ago

    i think our best formation base on our strength is 3-5-2 and these are my men that should execute it.
    Uzoho in goal,the three at the back should be Ekong,Balogun and Ogu and the five at the middle should be Moses as LWB,Mikel,Etebo and Ndidi should anchor the midfield where Etebo will be given the freedom to link the midfield and the attack and Ebuhi as a RWB then Iwobi and Ighano should be the two man to spearhead the attack.With this,we can beat any team.I hope GR will see this and utilize it.

  • Omoregbee 3 years ago

    PapaFem I completely agree with your summation. My only concern is our attack. We need someone who can bully the defences of our opponents. Nwankwo is not well known like Odion and he should be a starter for us. All the best to our darling Eagles against all their opponents

  • Good