By Kayode Ogundare:
Following the lethargic 2-0 loss to Croatia in their opening game of the 2018 World Cup, the Super Eagles have been adjudged as the 29th best of the 32 teams participating at the World Cup after the first round of games.
British newspaper Daily Telegraph, in an appraisal of all the teams, rated Nigeria has only better than Saudi Arabia which lost the opening game of the competition 5-0 to host country Russia and debutants Panama who lost 3-0 to Belgium.
Of Nigeria’s listless performance, the paper wrote thusly: ” A horrible performance from a group of players who didn’t seem to grasp quite how important their opening game at the World Cup was. Whether the manager’s fault or those in green shirts, there was no urgency, no great surge to try and rescue a point, an isolated striker and full-backs who weren’t allowed to get forward. Nigeria should be so much better than this.”
Spain and Portugal, who played out an enthralling 3-3 draw came in first and second while Mexico, which defeated reigning champions Germany were rated third.
Brazil, who were held by Switzerland and England, late 2-1 winner over Tunisia round up the top five in the ratings.
Nigeria will play her second game on Friday against Iceland at the Volgograd Arena. Only an outright win can keep the Super Eagles hopes of staying in the competition alive.