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Super Eagles’ Midfield Problems And Five Other Takeaways From Defeat To England

Super Eagles’ Midfield Problems And Five Other Takeaways From Defeat To England

Following the Super Eagles’  2-1 defeat to England in Saturday’s friendly at Wembley Stadium, Completesportsnigeria.com‘s JAMES AGBEREBI makes his observations from the game…


One very important aspect in football is communication among teammates. But against England, the Super Eagles players showed they need to learn a lot in that aspect.

On two occasions the Super Eagles players clashed heads against each other which could have been disastrous.

Zenith Ziva

In the first half, Leon Balogun collided with Joel Obi in a needless head collision which could have been costly.

And in the second half, Kenneth Omeruo and Oghenekaro Etebo had a clash of heads.

This is one area the players must address before going to the World Cup because failure to do so will spell doom for the Super Eagles.


It is evident the Super Eagles have not come to grips when it comes to dealing with set pieces.

Aside from Gary Cahill’s header which broke the deadlock, England went close on different occasions.

Eric Dier, Marcus Rashford and Kevin Trippier went close for England but were unlucky not to hit target.

The Super Eagles technical crew must look into this area if not it would be exploited by smart teams at the World Cup.


If there is one thing the Super Eagles must look at critically, it is the issue of starting poor in games.

Their shaky start led to England taking an early lead which also led to the second goal.

Though they bounced back in the second half, they cannot afford to do that at the World Cup or else their opponents would have been out of sight by the time the Eagles wake up.


The Super Eagles struggled in the first half because the midfield did not click.

The midfield trio of Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi and Joel Obi could not contain the England midfield.

Due to their struggle, the forwards were starved of any meaningful supplies while the defence was under constant pressure as a result of lack of protection.

The absence of Wilfred Ndidi was felt as Onazi and Joel Obi failed to mark runners which worried the Eagles back line.

The second half response by Gernot Rohr brought sanity in the midfield which led to an improved performance.


Though he could be blamed for Harry Kane’s goal, Francis Uzoho showed he is learning fast.

He made some good saves and did well enough to come out and either catch or punch away dangerous crosses, making use of his tall frame.

The friendly game against Czech Republic on Wednesday is another opportunity for him to show he is ready for the World Cup.


It was obvious the Super Eagles struggled in the first half which saw England deservedly go 2-0 up.

The likes of Shehu Abdullahi, Ogenyi Onazi, Joel Obi were poor in the first half which led to the poor first half display.

But before the start of the second half, Rohr brought in John Ogu, Oghenekaro Etebo, Tyronne Ebuehi and Kenneth Omeruo which totally changed the complexion of the game.

This is a clear indication that Rohr reads the game very well and knows when to make changes.

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  • Abdulrazak 3 years ago

    Gareth Southgate, the England manager was taught a tactical lesson by Gernot Rohr by the switch in formation in the friendly yesterday. England were made to look ordinary in that second half and were relieved at the sound of the final whistle.

  • Joel Obi thought Leon was an English player bcos he is ‘oyinbo’ hence d collision….

  • not dat onazi or Joel are poor players but find it deficult to cope with English pace. oga Roir ll need to find solution on time cos no time to check time.

  • It’s unfortulate, the Nigeria Team B has a better midfielders that played against Atletico Madrid than England’s. Nwakale & Usman Mohammed should have made this world cup squad. 0

  • Patrick 3 years ago

    I am watching Croatia vs Brazil friendly .Croatia depends on wingers for their attacks. Our full backs must raise their game against Croatia. We must field ebuehi and idowu . we need intelligent players to get goal.iwobu ,Mikel obi,victor moses are the ideal attackers. We also need simmy.

  • The problem is not the midfield, but midfield selection. Onazi has no business in the midfield at all. The best midfielders we have are Ogu, Ndidi and Mikel. Once he can stick to this, then in Sha Allah success is guaranteed in Russia.

    • Markyboy 3 years ago

      Sincerely I have been calling for this John ogu should play rather than Onazi…Rohr abeg shine your eye

  • I am glad more people are beginning to believe in John Ogu.

  • Hydroking23 3 years ago

    Iwobi needs to be in the central midfield. Ideally as a CAM while Ndidi and Mikel playing behind him guarding the defense.

  • Andrew Chime 3 years ago

    There is a problem in our mid-field. Onazi and Obi did not help matters at all. Our defenders were equally poor. England could have scored at least 5 goals in the first half. Good changes were made in the second half and that resulted to Iwobi’s goal. Onazi and Obi must not start our next game please.

    • Markyboy 3 years ago

      Correct….bro But please hence we need John ogu to always start…

  • If gernot rohr can play a super 433 formation,playing ebuehi as rb,idowu as Lb,ekong and balogun cb,then come to the midfield play mikel and ndidi as double cm,iwobi will be just ahead of them as an attacking centre midfied with moses and musa on our flanks,ighalo as our cf.

    • Ike Okoye 3 years ago

      Ibida..You just nailed it..a 433 formation..with iwobi playing as acm..this can also be easily altered to a 352 formation depending on the team with Iwobi and Kelechi upfront. I like the aggressiveness and speed of Oghenetebor, while Ogu is a good replacement for Ndidi if the need arises. Goodluck to us all.

  • Matthew Edozie Obiakor 3 years ago

    The mid fielders should be Ndidi,Ogene,Mikel Obi

  • Analysis  of eagles per4mas as at 4/6/2018 in friendly to Russia 
    P W D L gf ga GD Pts 
    5 2 1 2  7 7  0  7/15 
    A B C D 
    IN A GRP OF 4 TEAMs  EXPECTED  OUTcoME IS 4TH position. 
    Inference and conclusions so argentina croatia iceland could be fighting 4 d 2  best team while  eagles could  be chasin  d 4th position.