Super Eagles forward Ahmed Musa is backing the team to go further than they have ever gone at the World Cup by reaching the quarter-finals or the semi-finals of Russia 2018.
The Nigerian team have reached the round of 16 three times out of the five times they have qualified for the tournament, failing to progress beyond the group stages twice.
“We’re delighted to be making the trip to Russia. We were in a tough group with Algeria, Cameroon, and Zambia,” Musa told FIFA.com, recounting Nigeria’s journey to Russia.
“It wasn’t easy to finish first, but we’re delighted to have reached our objective.
“We got off to a good start with a win away to Zambia, and then we beat Algeria at home. That gave us confidence and we pushed on from that to qualify.
“We thought, to begin with, that it would all come down to the last match against Algeria. We didn’t think we’d have qualified already, bearing in mind the standard of the group.
“When we realised we weren’t going to make it to the Africa Cup of Nations [last year], we decided that we were going to fight for the people of Nigeria. We now need to try and make the 2019 continental finals after missing the last two.”
The Super Eagles are drawn in the tough-looking Group D of Russia 2018 with star-studded Croatia, Euro 2016 surprise packages Iceland and familiar foes Argentina.
Musa, who scored twice in the 3-2 defeat to Argentina in Brazil four years ago, is not bothered by the level of opposition the Eagles will face at the group phase.
“It doesn’t matter who we come up against; we’ll be giving it our best shot at the World Cup,” the Leicester City star said. “We’ll be trying our hardest in every match, no matter the opposition.
“We need to set our sights high. Nigeria want to do more than just get past the group phase. We want to make the quarter-finals and even the semis. Why not?
“I hope I get selected. The World Cup is a very important event for any player.”
The Super Eagles open their Russia 2018 campaign against Croatia on 16 June at the Kaliningrad Stadium before facing Iceland six days later at the Volgograd Arena. They end their group stage campaign against Argentina at the Saint P