By Johnny Edward:
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is unfazed at the ‘underdog’ tag given his team following their not-too-impressive performances in their pre-World Cup friendlies, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
The team recorded one win and a draw, losing three in their last five games prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Rohr whose side depart for Russia on Monday from their Avita Resort camp in Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Austria will lead the team out against Croatia in their opening game before tackling Iceland and Argentina in Group D
“We are okay with the garb of the underdog. But the defeats have done something for us – we have our heads firmly on our shoulders and we are focused,” Rohr told the Nigerian Football Federation media and communication department.
“Together, we have reviewed the matches and learnt so many lessons. We will approach the World Cup matches differently.
The former German international defender also believes his team know how to rise to the occasion when they begin their World Cup proper at the Kaliningrad Arena on Saturday against Croatia.
“We will take it one match at a time. I love this group because we know how to rise to the occasion together. Nigeria will be ready for Croatia,” the German, 64, added.
The Super Eagles will fly out of n Monday for the 21st FIFA World Cup finals – their sixth appearance in seven finals since making a memorable debut in the USA in 1994.
In their past five opening games at the World Cup, the Super Eagles have won twice and lost twice as as well losing one.
They will be hoping to record their first win in their first game since 1998.
NIGERIA’S 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho; Daniel Akpeyi; Ikechukwu Ezenwa
Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu; Tyronne Ebuehi; William Ekong; Leon Balogun; Chidozie Awaziem; Elderson Echiejile; Kenneth Omeruo; Bryan Idowu
Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi; Mikel John Obi; Ogenyi Onazi; John Ogu; Oghenekaro Etebo; Joel Obi
Forwards: Odion Ighalo; Victor Moses; Simeon Nwankwo; Alex Iwobi; Ahmed Musa; Kelechi Iheanacho.