Pius Ayinor, Russia
The Super Eagles were beaten 2-0 by Croatia in their opening Group D game in Kaliningrad, Russia on Saturday but Nigeria coach, Gernot Rohr is still very confident that the team would still qualify from that group, Extrasportsnigeria.com reports. The other teams in that group are Argentina and Iceland who played 1-1 draw in the group’s first game on Friday.
Nigeria dropped to the bottom of the Group D table after the defeat.
Nigeria conceded the first goal off Oghenkaro Etebo’s own goal while Real Madrid’s Luka Modric scored the second goal from a penalty spot.
Rohr said late on Saturday, “We are disappointed. We recognise that Croatia had the better team tonight and my young players made mistakes, again on the corners.
“The first goal was a corner, the second goal a penalty from a corner. There were also many fouls in the other box; they could have also given a penalty for us. Now we have to win against Iceland. If we win the next game, all is possible for qualification.”
Rohr agreed with the view of many Nigerians that the Eagles attack lacked serious bite. He then hinted at a possible adjustment to the attack formation in the next match against Iceland. He however refused to blame the massive support the Croatian fans gave to their team for the loss.
“Of course you are not satisfied when you don’t score. We were satisfied with the organisation of the team defensively, but we did not have many chances to score. Iwobi did well initially and then Musa came on and showed his speed. He has a good chance of starting the next game, we’ll see.”
He then added.
“It was a match like in Croatia. What I like is the quality of our supports coming from so far away. It’s not the number of supporters that is important; it’s the quality of them.”
Nigeria’s next game is against Iceland at the Volgograd Arena on Friday.