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Super Eagles Present Gernot Rohr With Difficult Choices To Make

Super Eagles Present Gernot Rohr With Difficult Choices To Make

SoccerTalk by Mumini Alao:
As a Nigerian, I think it is proper to be proud of the Super Eagles performance in the game against England at Wembley on Saturday.
It was a game of two halves. In the first half, England were utterly dominant and could have drowned Nigeria in a sea of goals. They scored two and dominated the game throughout the first half. On the basis of their first half showing, I will score the Super Eagles one over 10.
However, in the second half, Gernot Rohr showed why he’s the real MVP of this team by switching from an ineffective 4-3-3 formation to a 3-5-2 system which paid huge dividends for the Super Eagles.  They clearly dominated the second hald and deserved more than the lone goal they scored in that half. They scored a five out of 10 for a cumulative six overall which is not a bad result.
Now, by their performances in that game, the players have given the coach very interesting choices to make.
In goal, Francis Uzoho showed how much progress he’s made and why he deserved to be the number one goalkeeper at the World Cup. He punched and parried all he could and also showed remarkable calmness and composure under attack.
Probably due to the formation deployed in the first half, some of the players were not at their best. The Eagles were tentative, not composed and always second best at all balls that they should be competing for.
Tyronne Ebuehi came on for Shehu Abdullahi and showed that he’s as good or even better than Shehu, depending on the formation played. We saw him bomb forward from the right flank which Shehu didn’t do much of in the first half so Rohr must be scratching his head about who to start in that position between the two of them.
Idowu was fairly stable on the left side in both halves and I think he may have made the decision for the coach by his performance.
In central defence, we have always asked if we could survive the absence of either half of our Oyinbo Wall should any of them not be available. That question was answered admirably at Wembley. Leon Balogun was injured in the first half but managed to finish the half before being substituted. We saw the Eagles switch to a three-man defence with Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong and John Ogu who was playing in an unfamiliar role. Surprise, surprise, Ogu held his own against the English attackers and fitted in perfectly into that position. By his performance, Ogu may have forced himself into Rohr’s starting 11 should he consider going 3-5-2.
Omeruo was also outstanding in that three-man defence and hardly put a foot wrong. This was a different player from the error-prone Omeruo who always struggled in a four-man defence.
Sadly, Ogenyi Onazi did not cover himself in glory in this game. He was uncharacteristically wasteful, giving the ball away more times than I could count. He was also directly at fault for Harry Kane’s goal. We may probably see Onazi in a bench role should Rohr decide to stick to the players who performed well in this game.
My man of the match is undoubtedly Alex Iwobi. He was our best player by a mile and that’s got nothing to do with his brilliant goal. Even in the first half when the Eagles struggled, he was the bright spot in our game but when Rohr changed formation, the young man actually blossomed.  This must rank as one of his best games for Nigeria.
John Obi Mikel was influential as usual but really picked up as the game wore on. He showed that we still need him in the team, at least for the World Cup.
Victor Moses did not play to his usual standard and that may be attributed to the stifling 4-3-3 formation that we played in the first half. We saw flashes of his game in the second half before he was pulled off for Ahmed Musa.
Odion Ighalo was also outstanding although he had to wait until the switch in formation before he impressed. He however had the Super Eagles first attempt on target in the first half even though it took almost half an hour before we did it.
This game, in my opinion, has served its purpose. We saw Rohr’s team against a very strong England, former World Cup winners and a contender for the trophy in Russia. We also saw the team play two different formations in a game and clearly saw how they reacted to both formations.
Rohr also has some very difficult choices to make. What is the Eagles preferred formation? Is it 3-5-2 or 4-3-3 or even 4-4-2? He must decide on this. He must also decide on his starting 11. If anything, the performances in this game have shown that his starting 11 is not settled yet. While some players are trying to play themselves into a starting shirt, some obviously are showing why they should start from the bench.
It was a promising performance for the Super Eagles and I implore the fans to expect a good showing at the World Cup. This team is showing, with each passing game, that it has the ability to get better and I hope they can peak in Russia 2018.
We still have the chance of seeing them play against the Czech Republic next Wednesday so hopefully we can see improvements in performances and a better result.
Finally, I paid particular attention to the Super Eagles but I noticed Nigerian fans booing Dele Alli obviously for preferring to play for England. If the game had ended in a rout for the Super Eagles, I’m sure Alli would have been justified over his choice but with the response of the Super Eagles in the second half, he should have a second thought about his preference.
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  • Israel Akinlawon 3 years ago

    Thanks for your analysis which I’ve been waiting for since yesterday. I hope GR would have read it as well. I am very sure Nigeria would qualify from that group. I am surprised Joel Obi was not dropped eventually. Soar Super Eagles.

  • Patrick 3 years ago

    Wonderful analysis . I have just watched Croatia vs Brazil. If we play as we played England in the second half we will pick the three points. Big name dont play football.

  • Jones 3 years ago

    Good analyses. I think 3-5-2 should be our starting formation against Czech Republic. As follow…
    Uzoho-  Ekong-Balogun-Ogu-  Ebuehi-Ndidi-Mikel-Moses(lwb)-      Iwobi-      Ighalo/Simy

  • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

    “This game, in my opinion, has served its purpose. We saw Rohr’s team against a very strong England, former World Cup winners and a contender for the trophy in Russia”. “We also saw the team play two different formations in a game and clearly saw how they reacted to both formations”.

    Thank you Oga Mumini. When I said England is a contender for the WorldCup some said it’s laughable. One of only 8 countries to have won the WorldCup. Irrespective of how far they will go, England is always expected to go beyond the quarter finals.

    SuperEagles only needs to perfect the 3-5-2 formation IMHO. We are a totally different team when playing that way. It allows us to attack as a team and also defend as a team. With this formation SuperEagles will definitely not be intimidated.

  • lucky 3 years ago

    Joel is not gud at all..

  • Joel obi is not needed in the team

  • Uncle Mumini!!!!!!
    I don’t have much to say, but as a young journalist, I am proud of you. I follow you all the way even from here in Canada and I’ll meet you one day.

  • Omo9ja 3 years ago

    You people should understand that Joel Obi is not 100% fit. Same thing happened to Ebuehi before England match and people already says Ebuehi wasn’t good enough. I’m grateful that Ebuehi is fit again and ready to go. Joel will surprised many of you.

    I’m so happy that He Joel and Balogun made the final list. Because I’m scared of their injury. Hmmm…. that is 9ja people for you. However, I’m rightly behind you Joel. He will bounces back and fully fit.

    I’m very pleased with the final 23 man list. Also, glad to see that Simy made final list. Coach Rohr have learnt his leason in yesterday match. He must getting his tactics right.

    Eagles makes England looks like defending champion but they were not at all. If to say we got everything right in that match, we would have won the match.

    Just watched Croatia match on YouTube. Their style of play very similar to Polish team. They are rough and Eagles should be ready for a big task against Croatia.

    For the Iceland match, if Eagles doesn’t under rates the Iceland team and play with total commitments and God on our side, 6 points already there waiting for us. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • Oluseye 3 years ago

    Thank you sir. Reading from your desk since 1993 hasn’t failed me. Whenever its seems i lost interested in our team, your contributions gave me another insight and courage to keep the faith. Well explained and analyzed. Though i hope Joel ought to be out of the squad.

  • thanks Oga Mumini. Please more of this analysis in this world cup season.