By Nnamdi Ezekute in St Petersburg:
Gernot Rohr is hoping two-goal hero Ahmed Musa replicates his scoring form when his team take on Argentina in their Russia 2018 World Cup Group D clash on Tuesday in Saint Petersburg, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Musa scored a second-half brace for Nigeria in their 2-0 win against Iceland in Volgograd – a win which brightened their hopes of a round of 16 berth.
“I am happy with the nice goals Ahmed Musa scored against Iceland. The goals were well constructed by the team. It was a wonderful counter-attack and his goals were scored with wonderful techniques. I hope he scores again,” Rohr told the media in a press conference here in Saint Petersburg.
“He worked very hard to get back to the shape he is now. Last year he had a difficult situation at Leicester City and I told him to go to a club where he would play more matches. And he returned to Russia rejoining CSKA Moscow.
“And I visited him to see him in training. He was fighting to get back to his old form. So he deserves to come back to the team. He has big competition in his position in the team and I hope his confidence will make him do better against Argentina.”
On the way his side will play against Argentina, Rohr: “I cannot give you our plan on how we will play tomorrow but you can count on the Super Eagles to come out fighting against Argentina.
“They have to win and a kind of draw can be good for us. We also want to win. It will be spectacular game tomorrow.
“We have two organizations. We can play 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 we can also play 3-5-2 like we did against them like we did against Argentina in November last year.
“I hope that the beginning of the game will be much better than the last two games. I hope that my players will be ready from the start of the game.”
The German also stated that Mikel is fit to play with a cast on his injured wrist.
“The captain has a fracture on his metatarsal on his left hand. He has to play with a cast. He visited the doctor in Saint Petersburg.”
Rohr was unfazed about reports claiming an Argentina defeat will end send Lionel Messi into early retirement.
He added: “We don’t think about that. We focus on our game. We love this great player, me and my team. Everybody loves him but it’s not a question for us to answer. The question for us to answer is to qualify for the next round. We are not here to watch him play.
“We are here to defend the colours of Nigeria and in football there is no mercy. You cannot make any gifts. Even if you like him so much you can’t.
“We will put into our game lots of organization and discipline against him. We saw that against Iceland and Croatia. He did well but was unlucky. I think he is in good shape and we must be very wary of him.”
On his young squad handling pressure ahead of the game, Rohr said: “I think the youthfulness can be a disadvantage sometimes. We saw it in the last two games. Stupid penalties, some fouls as well because they are so young.
“The experience of Argentina can be their positive point as well. Each player wants to be in the second round. What is more important on the day is the concentration and fitness of the players with good organizations also, players that can make the difference individually and collectively.
“We are improving and I hope there will not be any mistakes from my young players against Argentina tomorrow.”