INTERVIEW – Ogu: Nigeria Not Argentina, We Will Fight To Beat Iceland

INTERVIEW – Ogu: Nigeria Not Argentina, We Will Fight To Beat Iceland

Super Eagles midfielder, John Ogu, believes that the team will respond strongly against Iceland on Friday, June 22 after losing their first Russia 2018 World Cup Group D match 2-0 to Croatia on Saturday. In this interview with Completesportsnigeroa.com’s NNAMDI EZEKUTE in Kaliningrad Russia, Ogu assures that Eagles will step up and fight to salvage things against the tenacious World Cup newcomers…

One game gone in Group D without a point for the Super Eagles. Iceland and Argentina games are where you can salvage things. What do you think at this moment?


I think it’s just one game played by each team. A whole lot could change after everyone has played three matches. We are down only in the standings for now, but we are not out yet. Every team in the Group still has two battles to do. I am confident that we will qualify from this group.

Croatia had massive support in the game with their fans all over the terraces. Did that count against the Super Eagles?

Zenith Ziva

Croatia fans were much in the stadium, encouraging their team during the match, it was massive. However, that wasn’t an excuse for our defeat.

To be sincere, I don’t think they were much better than us. We conceded two goals from set-pieces. We will watch the replay, correct the mistakes made and just work harder to get the required points from our remaining two matches.

Did you feel disappointed sitting out the whole game against Croatia?

(Smiles) No, I wasn’t disappointed. As a team everyone wants to play, and all of of won’t play at the same time. I believe that my time will come. When the time comes for me to play, like every other player in the team, I will go out there fighting for a good result. Like every other player in the team I’m sad about the result against Croatia, but we have two games to respond better.

Watching from the bench, did you feel you could have done something decisive to help the team get a good result if you had played?

No, I don’t look at it that way. Everyone that played did their best. They gave it their best shot. As a team, we have to put that behind us, take the positives and move on stronger.

Iceland came out smoking against Argentina in the first match of Group D and deservedly got a draw. Are you concerned that they will confront Super Eagles with a bigger motivation from that result?

It was a good result for Iceland. They got it against Argentina, now they will play against Nigeria. Two games won’t be the same in many ways. It’s going to be a different match. That match is an opportunity for us to make amends and get a good result. It’s important that we win it. It will be a massive game, but we shall be focusing on winning it.

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  • Just to propose a killer formation for a defensive Iceland, which I think will work. I will use 4-1-2-3. 4 (Tyrone, Idowu, Balogun, Troost-Ekong), 1 (Etebo), 2(Mikel, Iwobi), 3(Musa, Iheanacho, Moses). I will bench Ndidi, I am sorry. Etebo can do his job and Mikel will support. Etebo is a player that goes forward and comes back easily. He will also support the attack.

  • Good comment Ogu keep believing in yourself and the team. When your chance comes grab it with both hands and do yourself, ur team and the entire people of 9ja proud by beating the team from Iceland.

    My take on GR is that all along his plan and I think most Nigerians will agree is that the aim of the team from that group was to get 4 pts. He was hoping for a draw against Croatia hence the formation and tactics he employed, though unfortunately it backfired on him and on us. A win against Iceland and a loss against Argentina (knowing a win against Argentina though possible will be a daunting task but a draw will be very welcome).

    To me he gave the Croats too much respect by not really attacking them and by using a lone striker upfront. If we had pressured them from the jump we would have gotten a good result from the game. If you go watch the match again you will see that any time we actually put some pressure on them they tended to give the ball away. We can’t CRY over spilt milk at this point as that game is gone, the team just has to forge ahead and do the needful by beating Iceland.

    To beat the team from Iceland, GR is condemned to implement the 352 formation as this is the only way we can score against them bcos they are resolute defensively. Note, the eagles can’t afford to go down against Iceland, if we do it will be a very long night for SE. The 352 would have worked to perfection against the croats bcos they like to play from the middle and by congesting that area of the pitch and preventing them time on the ball we would have secured a positive outcome.

    Nigeria vs Argentina, we should also play a 352 and most importantly use the right players to execute the game. We can’t afford to go down in that game as it will be suicidal. The argentines love to play thru the middle so making it hard for them there is vital. I will still stick Ndidi iwobi and etebo there. Defensively, i would play ekong (though culprit of both goals against croatia), balogun and omeruo (i picked him ahead of Ogu bcos of his ruggedness and since he is a natural defender). Wingbacks ebuehi and Victor Moses. Upfront i will go with kelechi and simy for reasons i have said b4.

    Just my opinion though.

    Looking forward to Friday. Up SE.

    God bless 9ja and its people

  • @Proudly 9ja, I agree with you.
    1)From Rohr’s comments it is very obvious that he did not have any problem that the attack was useless. He kept saying the Vroats did not score from open play. Even if the Croats did not score from open play, should it not be a concern that our attack was blunt? What I could read in-between line was that he was not looking for a win. He probably believed his team was not good enough to beat Croats
    2) From Ighalo’s reaction it was very evident that Ighalo was not pleased play as a lone striker. This was evident when he said there was little he could do as a lone striker among 4 defenders. He however concluded that the coach is the one who decides what happens.
    3)He was eulogizing Modric and Rakitic as if he they are too much for us to handle. That already showed the mentality of a loser.

    • @Debo, @Tols and @proudly 9ja you all have very good points, I pray Gernot Rorh will uses all our advice for victory for Nigeria and for himself and his career. Thank you.

  • Complete sport should please advice Rohr to start
    Moses Musa
    Mikel Ndidi
    Idowu Balogun Ekong Ebuehi
    as the first 11 eleven. Almost every one knows that Super Eagles will win and score goals in multiples as they did worn against Argentina 4-2 by using this set of players as the first eleven and in this formation.
    Complete sport should help NIGERIA PLEASE!!!!! Thank you

  • Victor Onyeanum 3 years ago

    Some people have suggested here that Rohr was clueless in the match. I agree with them. His post-match comments also exposed his possible lack of ideas and ineptitude which may rub off on the remaining matches. Yes, the Croats scored through set pieces but why couldn’t we score even with our own set pieces? Some others have said that no country has won the World Cup with a foreign coach. This is a fact but could change with time. Although the players may not be reading us, I want to suggest that they should disobey the coach immediately they step onto the pitch if he plays them out of positions or employs a formation they know will not work. Yes! They should take care of themselves on the pitch if they smell a rat, and get a good result. That is patriotism. This is my thinking.

  • Abdul andah 3 years ago

    I begged GR not to play that useless ighalo and he did.
    I begged him not to play Shehu ahead of ebuehi and he did too.
    I begged him to deploy 3:5:2 formation and he didn’t do it.
    I pleaded him to play kelechi because that boy has big heart for a massive occasion like the world cup match and he didn’t listen.
    I asked him to play iwobi from 10 and he didn’t listen to me.
    Rohr went ahead and lost the match and later gave us useless and avoidable excuses..
    What he said aftermath of the match made me understand him better he has nothing to offer Nigeria in this world cup… Imagine a coach who’s determined to win matches and qualify from such a difficult group telling us that he shouldn’t be blamed because his team didn’t concede from an open play but has forgotten his didn’t score through the means his opponent scored.
    Even mourinho was very much annoyed and disappointed with the tactics Rohr deployed in that match…
    He was of the opinion that Mikel shouldn’t had played in the no. 10 role. He said Mikel dictate the tempo of the game from defensive role.
    To me iwobi would have done a better and clean job from that role.
    Larry izamoje also said that Rohr deployed a tactic which was in the favour of the Croatian team. I don’t know why didn’t see what is conspicuous to even the blind man who knows what football is all about.
    Nigeria has played much better when deployed in 352 formation why Rohr didn’t give it a try vs Croatia?
    To me, with Rohr still at the helms of affairs in the camp nothing to expect from the subsequent Nigeria remaining match..

  • femi Ajimuda 3 years ago

    The disappointment most of us felt and still feeling is that Croatia could have massive individual talents on the field but it never showed because our boys held them. Remember Bulgaria of 1994! They had very good individual stars i.e Stoickhov of Barcelona fame amongst others, but what happened? We defeated them by 3 unreplied goals

    We lost because we defeated ourselves.
    We refuse to track back appropriately whenever we lost possesion.
    We refused to support each other when we were under attack.
    We decided to play as individuals instead of as a team.
    We did not make our defence to start from the point we lose the ball.
    Wewere not fighters on the field but passengers.

  • steven okocha 3 years ago

    with what i have read so far from the above comments,it shows that a lot of people would do well in a coaching career.i wonder where u guys were hiding whe ROHR was appointed.