When the draws for the group stages of the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia was made, Nigeria was seeded in Pot 4. Automatically, there was no escaping a tough draw.
In the end, the Super Eagles got drawn in the same group as Argentina, Croatia and Iceland in Group D.
With the kind of teams drawn together in the same group, Nigeria’s group was nick-named the “group of death.” That’s how tough Rohr’s team found things for themselves. And for all the talk about having the youngest team at the tournament and a few players who shone brightly for their respective clubs last season, the World Cup started on a poor note for the Super Eagles.
The first game of the tourney – and arguably the most important – against Croatia ended in a loss for Nigeria. It gets more complicated considering the fact that the game between Argentina and Iceland ended in a draw.
As things stand, Luka Modric and co. currently sit atop Group D with three points and a goal difference of +2. They’re followed by Argentina and Iceland who sit in second and third after their draw. And there’s Nigeria, in fourth place.
As if the task for qualifying for the knockout stages of the World Cup wasn’t hard enough, things have just gotten harder. In fourth place, the remaining two Nigerian opponents are more than enough to think about for Nigeria’s Gernot Rohr.
Up next for Nigeria at the World Cup is Iceland. It’s their first World Cup tournament. And despite playing the first game against Argentina, they were able to hold their own and earn a point for themselves.
With their lone point and the level of organization of their team, they will be looking to increase their point total. On their way to qualifying for the World Cup, they defeated Croatia, the same one that defeated Nigeria in the first game.
The last game for Nigeria will be against the Argentines. The World Cup did not start on the perfect note for Lionel Messi and co. Their 1-1 draw is a big blow to their quest for finishing top of Group D. They will be looking to keep a perfect record in their next two games: the one against Croatia and the one against Nigeria.
Depending on how the second group game goes for Nigeria, it’s hard to tell how they will square off against Argentina. But the football history between both countries has not been the most positive for Nigeria.
The last meeting ended in a 3-2 loss for the Eagles. In 2002, it was a 1-0 loss. In 2010, it also ended in a 1-0 loss for the Eagles.
After the defeat against Croatia, the road to the knockout stages has now become harder. But it’s football, and anything can still happen. But do you think Nigeria can still qualify? Leave us a comment and share your thoughts with us.