Finally the group has been drawn, the fixtures has been arranged and hence the analysis shall begin.
On the first of December, the Super Eagles of Nigeria
were drawn to face Argentina, Iceland and Croatia in Group D at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. To some, the draw might seem favorable, however, some with wonder how we have managed to draw Argentina for three consecutive times in a World Cup group. Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, stated that the key was getting a good result against Croatia in their first group game, and he is right.
Well, today we will take a closer look at group D, examine the teams the Super Eagles were drawn against and look at the key points that could determine who gets out of the group.
The two time World Cup winners are strong favorites in this group. Led by Jorge Sampaoli,
who guided Chile to the Copa America in 2015, Argentina are a very formidable team. Their route to the World Cup was very turbulent. It almost seemed as if they were in danger of missing out, until they qualified after a Lionel Messi hat trick. Despite that, Argentina has a lot of quality players Dybala, Icardi, and Marcus Rojo are all in top form.
They open their group game against Iceland, however, they strongest group opppstion could be either Nigeria or Croatia.
Argentina will be looking to top the group with maximum 9 points, and that seems likely to happen.
Iceland not only made history by qualitying for the World Cup for the first time, they are also the smallest nation to compete in the 2018 World Cup, with a population of about 350,000.
Notwithstanding, they are a turning out to be a good footballing nation. After they exploits at the Euro 2016, they qualified for the World Cup with aplomb and are looking to do well in the tournament. Their key player is Gylfi Sigurdsson, a creative midfielder with a knack for scoring set pieces and long range goals. Iceland are a good attacking team, they defend and move forward as a unit. However, they can be punished by a team with strong midfield and attack, as France did in Euro 2016. Nigeria might fancy their chances against Iceland, although they have to be careful not to underestimate them, because they are first timers.
The Croatians needed a play-
off win against Greece to reach a the World Cup. They are a strong team with their main strength coming from their midfield which had players like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic. They also have a good attacking players like Ivan Perisic and Mandzukic. It is interesting to note that Croatia have lost their opening fixture at the past three consecutive editions of the World Cup. So could they also lose in their first group game against Nigeria? Very possible. Croatia are the team which the Super Eagles have the highest possibility of claiming 3 points.
A lot can change before the World Cup commences by June 14, 2018. Nevertheless, The Super Eagles should prepare for the World cup by playing friendly games with teams that have similar playing patterns as Argentina, Iceland and Croatia.
What do you think? Which team is the Super Eagles most likely to beat in their group? And which team is our fiercest opponent in the group.