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Rohr Not Bothered By Super Eagles ‘Underdog’ Status, Confident Of Win Vs Croatia

Rohr Not Bothered By Super Eagles ‘Underdog’ Status, Confident Of Win Vs Croatia

By Johnny Edward:
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is unfazed at the ‘underdog’ tag given his team following their not-too-impressive performances in their pre-World Cup friendlies, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.

The team recorded one win and a draw, losing three in their last five games prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.


Rohr whose side depart for Russia on Monday from their Avita Resort camp in Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Austria will lead the team out against Croatia in their opening game before tackling Iceland and Argentina in Group D

“We are okay with the garb of the underdog. But the defeats have done something for us – we have our heads firmly on our shoulders and we are focused,” Rohr told the Nigerian Football Federation media and communication department.

Zenith Ziva

“Together, we have reviewed the matches and learnt so many lessons. We will approach the World Cup matches differently.

The former German international defender also believes his team know how to rise to the occasion when they begin their World Cup proper at the Kaliningrad Arena on Saturday against Croatia.

“We will take it one match at a time. I love this group because we know how to rise to the occasion together. Nigeria will be ready for Croatia,” the German, 64, added.

The Super Eagles will fly out of n Monday for the 21st FIFA World Cup finals – their sixth appearance in seven finals since making a memorable debut in the USA in 1994.

In their past five opening games at the World Cup, the Super Eagles have won twice and lost twice as as well losing one.

They will be hoping to record their first win in their first game since 1998.


Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho; Daniel Akpeyi; Ikechukwu Ezenwa

Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu; Tyronne Ebuehi; William Ekong; Leon Balogun; Chidozie Awaziem; Elderson Echiejile; Kenneth Omeruo; Bryan Idowu

Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi; Mikel John Obi; Ogenyi Onazi; John Ogu; Oghenekaro Etebo; Joel Obi

Forwards: Odion Ighalo; Victor Moses; Simeon Nwankwo; Alex Iwobi; Ahmed Musa; Kelechi Iheanacho.

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  • Those words are reassuring coach; thanks.

    ______Fun Facts Ahead of Nigeria v Croatia_____

    Our darling Super Eagles of Nigeria will play their first match in this year’s FIFA World Cup against the Croatia on Saturday the 14th of June at 20:00 hours Nigerian time.

    I have been compiling some fun facts about Nigeria’s first matches in World Cup tournaments to date.

    Read on:

    1) Against Croatia, Nigeria will be looking to arrest a recent trend of losing/drawing our first matches. Tellingly, in all the tournaments that we have lost the first match (2002 and 2010) we have not only failed to qualify for the knock-out phase; in fact, we had come last in the group with only 1 point to show for our efforts on each occasion. Will history repeat itself if we lose against Croatia?

    2) If historical results are the main barometers of predicting the outcome of the match Croatia on Saturday, then we the fans should expect no other outcome than a Super Eagles victory. This is because all the victories in Nigeria’s first matches at the World Cup have come against highly rated European opponents (in 1994 and 1998).

    3) As Mikel is now playing a more offensive role for Nigeria, this increases the odds in favour of him registering his name in the score-sheet. Should this happen, it will be the first time in history that a Super Eagles captain will score in Nigeria’s first match in any World Cup tournament.

    4) For the records, I am a huge fan of Shehu and Echiejile. However, should Coach Rohr opt to go for a backline of Ebuehi, Balogun, T.Ekong and Idowu, it will be the first time in history that in Nigeria’s first World Cup match, the entire defence will be made up of foreign-born Nigerians.

    5) Group “D” might stand for “Group of Death”, but for Nigeria, it has always represented a “Group of Life”. This is because every time Nigeria has been in Group ‘D’ at any World Cup (1994 and 1998), we have won the first match and have qualified for the knock-out stages against all the odds whilst topping the group.

    I hope being in Group ‘D’ this time around also yields similar and even better results and outcomes.

    If you know of any other fun facts and you are happy to share, feel free to do so.

    God bless you all.

    • **Saturday 16th of June***

    • Bomboy 3 years ago

      Thanks for the fun facts, @ deo. The best post I have read on this forum. Hope we beat Croatia! Everything seems to depend on it.

    A great wonder to behold is the way eagles know how to soar
    Even when the storms of this world are growing tougher and tougher
    They dare to keep climbing the sky higher and higher
    Most especially when the consequences are so dire

    Oftentimes their heritage as flight kings
    Is proudly reinforced through their mighty wings
    Which are even broader when flapping against merciless winds of rage,
    But are otherwise weakened greatly when barred in a cage

    So let the Super Eagles dare to be
    Let them freely showcase their skills for Russia and the World to see
    And surely from their ever daring presence,
    We all might just learn a thing or two about excellence – Like the feeling that comes with lifting up the World Cup!

    Let the Super Eagles Dare To Win!!! #soarsupereagles

    Written By Chuma Obum

  • Jensen Josh 3 years ago

    you want to win Croatia and you are not stepping up ur game
    we lost to czech

    • Official 3 years ago

      Who doesn’t loose a game our two…. Weather they lost against Czech Republic or England does not define the way they would play at the World Cup ND besides it was to help the find their weaknesses and strengths…..

    • Some of you guys are so negative in your thoughts. Relax ur mind,  support your team and enjoy the WC weather naija wins or not.  Go naija.

  • Tequiero 3 years ago

    Mr Jensen josh

    I really understand dt u love naija nd Das y you talk like dis..  However, why use all ur arsenals during training Wen d battle av not began…  Against Czech, it was just a friendly.. It’s to try new modalities and strategy…  I think dis eagle will fly and if there wings are clipped, just make sure u av fun and not heart ache…

    • Official 3 years ago

      Thank you ooo God bless….. He has already given up when the battle as not even started

    • Losin or wining,sum1 has to,these is our best,those that play good football will understand and thire own good or bad.dont forget,we are under dog,losin mean notin.

  • Chima E Samuels 3 years ago

    Our opponents are already in Russia we the so called underdogs are yet to arrive. This is the Nigerian spirit I shake my head because until the day we start getting things right I will not stop d critics because in the end you will hear one olodo saying the weather we had little time to prepare we will win against Iceland hahaha Nigeria high o

    • Mr Samuel….  Why give yourself high BP because of football?  The coach has his plans weather it works well or not.  Just relax a bit and enjoy World Cup.  Your advice or observation is good but it can’t change anything…. Biko

      • Chima E Samuels 3 years ago

        True talk we just have to relax and expect what we sow because we can’t sow bean and reap corn

  • My preferred line up:1
    Uzoho 2 ebuehi 3 Idowu 4 ndidi 5 balogun 6 ekong 7 moses 8 iwobi 9 ighalo 10 mikel.up Nigeria!!!!!

    • Kunle,  I like ur line up…..  Etebo is missing.  He and ñdidi behind Mikel in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Omo, we too get many gaffers for naija . Up Eagles

    • Chima E Samuels 3 years ago

      Na u be coach na Rohr is not reading cs

  • Ezefra 3 years ago

    Guys, for once let’s believe in the Eagles. I believe they will do well at this world cup regardless of the poor showing in the friendly games leading to the Mundial. From what i make of their second half performances in their last 2 friendly encounters against Czech and England, I see a potentially strong team with a fight in them. Coach needs to get his tactics right and get the boys in the right mental state before our first game. Let’s just get behind the team. ….

  • @Chima E Samuels oga Monday is not too late to go to Russia after all they aren’t playing where they are. Other countries are yet to go too.

  • Lets Wait And See.Mayb Rohr Has A Game Plan He Doesnt Want To Disclose, After All This Wasnt D Team We Saw During Qualifier.

  • Nigerians apploud failure,u no c,i tell u b4,d player are good,if we get it right good,in d wc every are there to win,south africa didmt qualify,we are not same group,yet thire meadia and people rejoice in our failure,are u people south africa.for cryin out loud we are under dog,lossing shd not be our problem.

  • Eagles main problems are just two. Psychologist (salt) the tend to be indecisive at the beginning of all thier matches due to tension and Ighalo or Musa offside issues (salt) direct set pieces (onions). Moses should not be taking all the set pieces. The have all the other expensive ingredient example private jet good hotels, bonuses etc
    like meat,fish etc.

  • I’ll say it again our best coach is still siasia, but because of the greed of our f.a, they are the one killing our football, greedy set of people

  • Abdul andah 3 years ago

    The worst result for Nigeria vs Croatia is a draw!
    Mark my word.
    The coach should allow iwobi dictate the pace from 10.while Mikel and ndidi behind him.
    Iwobi is much more mobile than Mikel and he has killer and sublime passes than Mikel. Iwobi also shoots well than Mikel while Mikel read and marks better than iwobi.
    Elderson start from the left same as ebuehi from the right side.
    Iheanacho should start ahead of ighalo and moses should be told to allowing iheanacho taking our free kicks…
    If rohr work with this my write up Nigeria shall win the match 2goals and we will all be happy but if he fail to adhere it then draw is our likely result…

  • Scarlet 3 years ago

    Abdul, does it now mean that you know the team better than Rohr who brought them together? Na wa oooo…

  • This is Nigeria’s strongest starting 11 at the world cup
    Goalkeeper Uzoho
    Rwb ebuehi
    Lwb moses…I choose moses here because I have seen him play at both left and right wing back for Chelsea and since we ebuehi is very efficient… I would have him at left back…and it would help curb some of his excesses…he is more tactically discipline from wing back
    In centre defence..I will have
    John ogu,ekong and balogun
    Central midfield…ndidi and etebo

    I will have iwobi play just behind the striker
    And of course to lead the attack is kelechi…because he has a better understanding of iwobi than any of the other strikers

  • Im very sure of the fact that this present squad of the nigeria super eagles will surety not qualify for the next round of the tournament.

  • @Segun don’t u notice that people here have been ignoring ur comment? Siasia had been given enuf time to assemble super eagles team in the past. May be u have forgotten that he failed to qualify us for 2012 nations cup in Gabon/Equitoria Guinea and the last nations cup 2016. A coach qualified us unbeaten with a game to spare for world cup. The world cup hasn’t started yet u have concluded cos of friendly matches. U do well.

  • The problems of the Eagles are as follows1) Ighalo’s positioning is very poor. Go and watch all their recent friendlies , he kills the moves by always getting himself in an offside positions . The midfielders should not pass to him if he is in an offside position. 2)The eagles need the services of an experienced psychologist.They don’t play confident football until the latter stages of a match. The defenders in particular are very guilty of booting out the ball instead of gradually playing out from the back. Balogun is the worst culprit. 3) I have watched Moses play a thousand freekicks all to no avail. Pls let Kelechi or Ogu play some they have sweet left foot

  • 4)They don’t have good wingers who can dribble and give good crosses for the point man to score. I remember the days of Edobor, Elahor , FinIdi George and co. Our wingers particularly Musa is guilty of not raising his head to look at what is going on in the box before he crosses thus not hitting his target several times.

  • 5) I thought with the introduction of foreign born defenders our defence will be well knit . That has not been the case, we are guilty of ball watching and leaving too many spaces for the opponents to explore

  • Bomboy 3 years ago

    @ deo, thanks for the fun facts. The best post I have read on this forum. Hope we beat Croatia! Everything seems to depend on it.

    • Thanks Bomboy. I do also hope we come out with a favourable result against Croatia.

      Stay blessed.

  • Nigerians are very negative minded.They have not even start world cup,Nigerians have already crucify the team {Super Eagles}. Only Nigerians tear Nigeria down.


  • Djeniko 3 years ago

    I remembered the story of Gideon and his 300 fearless men. 32,000 men volunteered to go to war with a 135,000 enemy army. Suddenly and unexpectedly an announcement was made for any one who is afraid and trembling to go home. 22,000 left!!!!! A test was further made on the remaining 10,000. Could you believe it? 9700 failed. You start to wonder. How can 300 fight against 135,000!!!! Its a suicide case. Strategy and fearlessness did it for them. God helped them. The battle was won. I am not saying that God take sides on sport, but with these coaches and the players formulating a strategy with fearlessness, they can succeed like Gideon and his 300 brave men. The Super Eagles can be so not minding the “underdog”‘s tag.