From Richard Jideaka, Porto Alegre:
Ex-Super Eagles skipper Nwankwo Kanu has tipped the team to reach the quarter-finals of the Brazil 2014 World Cup by beating France in their second round clash on Monday.
Reacting after the Eagles’ 3-2 loss to Argentina saw Nigeria qualifying for the second round for the first time in 16 years, Kanu said the team was wonderful against the Argentines and would be better against France.
”This team may bulldoze their way to the semi-finals. After the way they played Argentina, nobody should write them off. I think the French game will suit the Eagles and I see them battling past France for a quarter-final ticket,” Kanu told Complete Sports in Brazil.
”For the Eagles holding their own against an Argentine team that has great players like Messi, Aguero, Higuain, Di Maria, Levezzi and Mascharano is a clear testimony that they can face any team and get result.
”The Eagles lost to Argentina because they did not believe they could win the game. I think they played the South Americans with too much respect. At 3-2 I felt the Eagles should have pressed for the equaliser and probably a win. They will learn from this and move on.”
The former Arsenal FC of England ace stressed that the Super Eagles will be at home with French team’s European flair and could overcome them with pace and physical advantage, adding that if the Eagles could not be intimidated by the over 40,000 Argentines who thronged the Porto Alegre stadium, they would fear no team.
Assessing the World Cup so far, Kanu said it has been full of surprises and excellent football displays, adding that Ghana forcing Germany to a draw and Costa Rica beating Italy and Uruguay to top their group as well as Spain, England, Italy going home attest to the surprises of this World Cup.