By Kayode Ogundare:
Former Nigerian international winger Finidi George has expressed his desire to see the Super Eagles, who are currently preparing for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, stick to the 3-5-2 formation as well as be wary of group opponents Iceland who are making their debut in the competition.
Speaking on a television sports programme monitored in Lagos on Thursday morning, Finidi claimed that the Super Eagles have always played well each time they switch to the 3-5-2 and, as such, the Gernot Rorh led technical crew should perfect the formation to maximize the players strength.
He said: “No matter how good a team is, they must have a formation that they are comfortable with and which brings out the best in them. And no matter how good a formation is, if the players are not comfortable with it then it will just be like a waste of time. You need players who are intelligent enough to translate whatever formation the team is playing on the pitch. And the Super Eagles have shown in their games that they respond better to the 3-5-2 than any other formation. So I say why not stick to it? It’s good when you can switch from one formation to another but it’s better when you always start with your best foot forward rather than scrambling to change formation when you are already losing.”
The former Ajax Amsterdam of Holland star also warned Nigeria to be wary of debutants Iceland because nothing much is known about them and this could make them dangerous customers.
“They [Iceland] remind me of Nigeria in 1994. We went to the World Cup as African champions but not much was known about us so we were able to surprise a lot of people and we could have gone very far if we had a little more luck. Iceland are good if you consider what they did at the European championships in 2016. The fact that they qualified for the World Cup is also an indication of their strength so we must be careful so that they don’t spring a surprise on us particularly as they will play us in the second match,” he continued.
Finidi, who also won the Champions League in 1995, was emphatic about the need for the Eagles to play more as a team rather than the individual game they’ve been playing of recent.
“They need to play more as a unit but we have not been seeing much of that recently. They also tend to leave too much space in the midfield and against midfielders like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic you will be punished if you get careless. If we play 3-5-2, we can put more bodies in the midfield and stop them from taking control of the midfield. Whatever we do, we must not lose our first game. It is very important.
“For Argentina, they cannot afford to over concentrate on Lionel Messi. There are other good players in their teams and if we successfully stop Messi but fail to stop the others it would have been all labour lost,” he concluded.