Osaze Odemwingie has set his sights on a ‘dream’ showdown with Argentina after taking the Super Eagles to the brink of the World Cup second round.
The 32-year-old Stoke striker’s first-half goal saw the Eagles soar over Group F rivals Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0 in Cuiaba on early Sunday morning and left them within a point of reaching the knockout stage.
Odemwingie, who was used only as a substitute in the opening 0-0 draw with Iran, is hoping his efforts will help him retain his place for an eagerly-anticipated clash with Lionel Messi and company in Porto Alegre on Wednesday.
He told www.fifa.com: ‘I earned myself a starting position and it was important to work hard to keep it, especially before a big game like Argentina, which is a dream for every player to play in.’
Should the Bosnians, the only team in the group which now have no chance of qualification, avoid defeat by Iran in Salvador, Nigeria would be through regardless of what they do after winning a game at the finals for the first time since 1998.
Odemwingie said: ‘I’m so happy for the country, our fans, the team. It was maybe one of the hardest three points in my career, though.’
There were plenty of familiar faces for Odemwingie at the Arena Patanal, with former Lokomotiv Moscow team-mate Emir Spahic captaining Bosnia and current Britannia Stadium colleague Asmir Begovic between the posts.
However, the striker insisted inside knowledge did not come into play when he homed in on Begovic for what proved to be the game’s decisive moment with 29 minutes
Asked if he felt he had the upper hand, Odemwingie smiled as he said: ‘No, I don’t think so as saving shots from close distance is one of the stronger sides of his game.
‘He is a great guy. He knows I have a good shot and I tried to shoot a few times. I’m sure he is going to tell me off when I get back to Stoke.
‘I had to do it for my country but I was so happy to see him on this stage and I exchanged shirts with him at the end of the game.’