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SUPER EAGLES BEST XI: How Nigeria Should Line Up Vs Croatia

SUPER EAGLES BEST XI: How Nigeria Should Line Up Vs Croatia

The Super Eagles are one day away from the start of their 2018 FIFA World Cup 2018 campaign. Completesportsnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD a best XI, based on performances in recent friendly matches, in a potential 4-3-3 formation for the game against Croatia, barring any last minute change or injury…

GOALKEEPER

Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain)

It’s unfortunate that Francis Uzoho could only manage two appearances for the first team of Deportivo La Coruna before his move to the B team in the third division in Spain where he kept 15 clean sheets and conceded 17 goals in 26 appearances.

Since his debut for Nigeria in their 4-2 international friendly win over Argentina last November, the 19-year-old has continued to grow in confidence and composure in goal for Nigeria. Though he has kept only one clean sheet in six appearances for Nigeria, Uzoho remains the best performing goalkeeper in the team at the moment. With Ikechukwu Ezenwa apparently no longer first choice and Daniel Akpeyi still not back to his very best, Uzoho remains a sure bet to be in goal for Nigeria.

RIGHT-BACK

Tyronne Ebuehi (Benfica, Portugal)

With Shehu Abdullahi struggling to replicate the form that he showed in the qualifying campaign, Tyronne Ebuehi is ready to step in. The youngster, who just joined Portuguese giants Benfica, has been impressive in the pre-World Cup friendly matches and seized the opportunity to show he can dislodge Abdullahi if given the opportunity. Ebuehi covers the whole of the right flank energetically, doing his defensive duties diligently while contributing to the attack.

LEFT-BACK

Bryan Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia)

Bryan Idowu’s inclusion in the Super Eagles squad has seen Elderson Echiejile drop to the bench following the Russia-based player’s impressive performances.

Idowu’s hunger, pace and tireless runs down the left flank have seen him preferred to Echiejile who is in the twilight of his international career.

The Amkar Perm defender has started in all games for Nigeria since he came on for Ola Aina on his debut against Argentina last November.

CENTRE-BACKS

Leon Balogun (Brighton, England) and William Troost-Ekong (Bursaspor, Turkey)

Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong, nicknamed the Oyinbo Wall, have formed a great partnership playing together in the heart of the Super Eagles defence. They look guaranteed as the first choice starters as centre backs for the team, if Balogun shakes off the knock he picked in training. Ekong’s aerial prowess and pace have also been complemented with Balogun’s brilliance with his ball-winning and passing skills.

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MIDFIELDERS

John Ogu ( Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Israel)

Since posting that outstanding performance for the Super Eagles when he came on as a second half substitute against England, John Ogu is gradually getting back to reckoning in the team. His performances for his club Hapoel Beer-Sheva saw them win a third consecutive league title in Israel last season. His versatility playing as a centre-back and as a defensive midfielder for the Super Eagles makes him a choice in midfield ahead of off-colour Ogenyi Onazi. Ogu’s ball playing abilities and aerial presence have seen him play his way back into Gernot Rohr’s plans again for the game against Croatia on Saturday.

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England)

Ndidi enjoyed an outstanding season with Leicester City in the English Premier League until he sustained a hamstring injury. The 21-year-old midfielder was perhaps the most in-form Nigerian midfielder until his injury. The combative, tough-tackling midfielder is expected to play a part in Saturday’s opener against Croatia at the Kalinigrad Stadium.

Ndidi, who was voted Leicester City’s Young Player of the Year, flourished playing alongside Onazi in the defensive midfield role during the World Cup qualifiers where Nigeria finished as group winners.

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Mikel Obi (Tianjin TEDA, China)

The Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi brings the creative spark for the team going forward. His wealth of experience will be massively needed for the team to unlock tight defences. His guile and calmness on the ball helped the team dictate the pace of the game during the qualifiers. If the Super Eagles are to shine in Russia, Mikel must be at his very best to help the team blossom.

WINGERS

Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, England)

Alex Iwobi has shown in crucial games that he can be relied upon as a creative spark for the team.

Iwobi was Nigeria’s best player in their last two defeats to England and Czech Republic in pre-World Cup games. He is a better threat that the Ahmed Musa, whose scoring form improved when he joined CSKA Moscow on loan from Leicester City in January. Musa scored seven goals in 16 appearances for the Russian side after a miserable first half of the season with Leicester City, where he made only one appearance for the first team.

Victor Moses (Chelsea, England)

Victor Moses had an outstanding season for Chelsea in the English Premier League as the dethroned champions salvaged their season, winning the Emirates FA Cup. Moses has been performing well at the top level and his freshness heading into the World Cup will offer the Super Eagles another dimension in attack.

STRIKER

Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China)

Odion Ighalo is almost certain to start for Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Ighalo has shown that if he gets the creative support from his midfield, he will deliver. The former Watford striker is capable of playing alone up front and will trouble defenders with his trickery on the ball and guile. So far this season he has scored seven goals in 11 Chinese Super League games for his team, Changchun Yatai.

The Super Eagles are one day away from the start of their 2018 FIFA World Cup 2018 campaign. Completesportsnigeria.com's JOHNNY EDWARD a best XI, based on performances in recent friendly matches, in a potential 4-3-3 formation for the game against Croatia, barring any last minute change or injury... GOALKEEPER Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain) It's unfortunate that Francis Uzoho could only manage two appearances for the first team of Deportivo La Coruna before his move to the B team in the third division in Spain where he kept 15 clean sheets and conceded 17 goals in 26 appearances. Since his debut for Nigeria in their 4-2 international friendly win over Argentina last November, the 19-year-old has continued to grow in confidence and composure in goal for Nigeria. Though he has kept only one clean sheet in six appearances for Nigeria, Uzoho remains the best performing goalkeeper in the team at the moment. With Ikechukwu Ezenwa apparently no longer first choice and Daniel Akpeyi still not back to his very best, Uzoho remains a sure bet to be in goal for Nigeria. RIGHT-BACK Tyronne Ebuehi (Benfica, Portugal) With Shehu Abdullahi struggling to replicate the form that he showed in the qualifying campaign, Tyronne Ebuehi is ready to step in. The youngster, who just joined Portuguese giants Benfica, has been impressive in the pre-World Cup friendly matches and seized the opportunity to show he can dislodge Abdullahi if given the opportunity. Ebuehi covers the whole of the right flank energetically, doing his defensive duties diligently while contributing to the attack. LEFT-BACK Bryan Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia) Bryan Idowu's inclusion in the Super Eagles squad has seen Elderson Echiejile drop to the bench following the Russia-based player's impressive performances. Idowu's hunger, pace and tireless runs down the left flank have seen him preferred to Echiejile who is in the twilight of his international career. The Amkar Perm defender has started in all games for Nigeria since he came on for Ola Aina on his debut against Argentina last November. CENTRE-BACKS Leon Balogun (Brighton, England) and William Troost-Ekong (Bursaspor, Turkey) Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong, nicknamed the Oyinbo Wall, have formed a great partnership playing together in the heart of the Super Eagles defence. They look guaranteed as the first choice starters as centre backs for the team, if Balogun shakes off the knock he picked in training. Ekong’s aerial prowess and pace have also been complemented with Balogun’s brilliance with his ball-winning and passing skills. MIDFIELDERS John Ogu ( Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Israel) Since posting that outstanding performance for the Super Eagles when he came on as a second half substitute against England, John Ogu is gradually getting back to reckoning in the team. His performances for his club Hapoel Beer-Sheva saw them win a third consecutive league title in Israel last season. His versatility playing as a centre-back and as a defensive midfielder for the Super Eagles makes him a choice in midfield ahead of off-colour Ogenyi Onazi. Ogu's ball playing abilities and aerial presence have seen him play his way back into Gernot Rohr's plans again for the game against Croatia on Saturday. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England) Ndidi enjoyed an outstanding season with Leicester City in the English Premier League until he sustained a hamstring injury. The 21-year-old midfielder was perhaps the most in-form Nigerian midfielder until his injury. The combative, tough-tackling midfielder is expected to play a part in Saturday’s opener against Croatia at the Kalinigrad Stadium. Ndidi, who was voted Leicester City’s Young Player of the Year, flourished playing alongside Onazi in the defensive midfield role during the World Cup qualifiers where Nigeria finished as group winners. Mikel Obi (Tianjin TEDA, China) The Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi brings the creative spark for the team going forward. His wealth of experience will be massively needed for the team to unlock tight defences. His guile and calmness on the ball helped the team dictate the pace of the game during the qualifiers. If the Super Eagles are to shine in Russia, Mikel must be at his very best to help the team blossom. WINGERS Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, England) Alex Iwobi has shown in crucial games that he can be relied upon as a creative spark for the team. Iwobi was Nigeria's best player in their last two defeats to England and Czech Republic in pre-World Cup games. He is a better threat that the Ahmed Musa, whose scoring form improved when he joined CSKA Moscow on loan from Leicester City in January. Musa scored seven goals in 16 appearances for the Russian side after a miserable first half of the season with Leicester City, where he made only one appearance for the first team. Victor Moses (Chelsea, England) Victor Moses had an outstanding season for Chelsea in the English Premier League as the dethroned champions salvaged their season, winning the Emirates FA Cup. Moses has been performing well at the top level and his freshness heading into the World Cup will offer the Super Eagles another dimension in attack. STRIKER Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China) Odion Ighalo is almost certain to start for Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Ighalo has shown that if he gets the creative support from his midfield, he will deliver. The former Watford striker is capable of playing alone up front and will trouble defenders with his trickery on the ball and guile. So far this season he has scored seven goals in 11 Chinese Super League games for his team, Changchun Yatai.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 30
  • Samson Oyeyinka 5 months ago

    I would prefer the line up below

    Keeper Ezenwa

    Defence
    Tryonne Troost Omueoro Ogu

    Mid field
    Ndidi Mikel Etebo

    Forwards
    Moses Ighalo ihenanco

    Substitute

    Iwobi, Musa and Simeon

  • Lewis 5 months ago

    Eagles will struggle without Etebo

    This is Nigeria’s strongest starting 11 at the world cup
    Goalkeeper Uzoho
    Rwb ebuehi
    Lwb moses…I choose moses here because I have seen him play at both left and right wing back for Chelsea and since we ebuehi is very efficient… I would have him at left back…and it would help curb some of his excesses…he is more tactically discipline from wing back
    In centre defence..I will have
    John ogu,ekong and balogun
    Central midfield…ndidi and etebo
    Midfield…mikel

    I will have iwobi play just behind the striker
    And of course to lead the attack is kelechi…because he has a better understanding of iwobi than any of the other strikers

    • Chima E Samuels 5 months ago

      Arh Balogun midfield are you sure?

    • Dr. Drey 5 months ago

      hahahahaha…thank God u r not the coach. Our highest score in qualifiers at left back…???? LMao…!

      • Isaac 5 months ago

        This is world cup not qualifiers. The same Moses that did very well against African teams in 2013 Afcon could not do much in 2014 world cup

    • You are absolutely spot on. This is my line up too. Especially against Croatia who will play the high press. This lineup is technically very good and will withstand any pressing as well as be very explosive. The speed of Etebo and Ndidi will cover Mikel’s pace problems.

  • Chima E Samuels 5 months ago

    Now let our complete sports fan start the flow. Some people comment go make you laugh thank God we are not coach..

  • Mr vick 5 months ago

    Lewis, i share the same view with you, the formation and personnel will deliver the goods for nigeria.

  • This arrangement looks over defensive and will leave Ighalo isolated as usual … We need more creativity in the middle, how i wish joel obi is in form, moving moses to the left wing for ebuchi is counterproductive. ogu and ighalo should sit down, while kelechi and etabo start… we just ha e to get it right from the start

  • PapaFem 5 months ago

    If Leon is not going to play, I’ll suggest we settle for 3-5-2. That’s the only system that has worked for us in the absence of the big man. Defenders should be OGU, TROOST and OMERUO.
    We should be wary of Rebic and Perisic. These are Croatian’s two attacking wingers who feed Manduzick.
    Most of their goals come directly or indirectly from these intelligent, very skilful wingers. Manduzick does nothing on his own without them because most of his goals are headed goals from the duo’s crosses. That’s why I’ll suggest EBUEHI and IDOWU as our wing backs. I’m still very skeptical about that IDOWU, but he’s still better than Elderson in that position. In the middle, we need the pace and tenacity of ETEBOR, OBI’s pint point passes and NDIDI’s ultra-active dedication, energetic marking and speed. I was happy when I read Rohr tested Klopp’s gegenpressing tactic in their trainings. Wow! This could be our best answer to a talented Croatian’s midfield led by Modric. We shouldn’t allow them time and space on the ball. Even when they are in possession, we should put pressure on the player with the ball, mark the likely receivers of his pass or block the lanes of those passes. This will force them into making wrong passes or kick the ball into safely under panic. The entire outfield players should be involved , such that we don’t allow them to build attack from the rear. This is a system that requires physical energy and stamina, and with the power and natural strength God has bestowed us with, we shouldn’t have any problem going through the 90 mins. In the attack, I’ll like to see IWOBI and MOSES. But Ighalo at the centre of it all beats my imagination. I trust SIMY to twist, turn, bully and pressure the opposing defence. Ighalo’s come-and-get-me, back-to-goal approach could be very sickening. Wishing our dear EAGLES the very best against Russia.

    • Dr. Drey 5 months ago

      Two bowls of pounded yam and bitterleaf soup with goat meat for u dia…! U nailed it

  • Ayphillydegreat 5 months ago

    This line up is good. Hopefully, Ighalo, Idowu and Ogu step up big time. Although words coming from Russia is that Etebo is in line to start. All the same VAMOS ARRIBA SUPEREAGLES!!!!

  • All i c is 2 vs 1
    2 vs 0

  • Omo9ja 5 months ago

    I’m not comfortable with Ighalo in the front. If the coach decided to use him tomorrow, he will regret it. Simy should be our top striker. For example, how many friendlymatches did we played and did he score at least half goal? The coach keep using him. This is world cup which means if you have a chance utilize it but if you don’t it might backfired in the end. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • louis 5 months ago

    The above formation is okay but it looks like the normal goal starved formation. Relying on Mikel’s creative play is not sth I will desire for the team. I prefer Iwobi  in the center of the diamond. He has an eye for goal an that is sth that we need. 

    3- 4- 1 -2 
    *Defend (CB):
    John Ogu, Ekong,  Balogun 

    * Midfield 
    V. Moses (wb),  Mikel(cm), Ndidi(cm) Ebuehi( wb)

    *Attackers 
    Iwobi (AMF),  Ighalo (cf) 

  • obehi 5 months ago

    Izoho,balogun,trost,ebuehi,idowo….mid..mikel,ndidi,iwobi..attack. Moses,simy and kelechi 

  • Regardless of the formation that Gernot Rohr elects to go for against Croatia, i advise him to draw a lesson from the legendary Bruce Lee who said (and I quote):
    “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend. Empty your mind”

    Although 3-5-2 worked fantastically well in certain friendly matches (e.g vs Argentina) and 4-2-3-1 was too hot to handle for our opponents during world cup qualifies, I suggest that the Super Eagles should now be flexible, adaptable and highly responsive in their formation.

    3-5-2 should quickly morph into 5-3-2 or 5-2-1-1 when required and 4-2-3-1 should morph into 4-2-2-2 if Ighalo needs support.

    Dynamism will help these Eagles go a long way in this competition. They should empty their minds and play with verve and freedom, expressing themselves at the same time playing for each other and their coach (who selected them ahead of others).

    Good luck.

  • Joe Harry 5 months ago

    One Thing I’m Very Sure Here Is That No Matter The Formation We Chose
    Gernot Is Not Even Going Read This
    The Coach Has Already Has His Options, Formation,Substitutions And His Starting XI Ready
    What I Would Say Is No Matter The Formation
    Soar Super Eagles
    Collapse The Albiceleste
    Drown The Croats
    Melt The Iceman
    Fly Higher Than Other Eagles
    Make Us Proud

  • Excel 5 months ago

    Whether the coach reads our comments or not, the feeling of making the right selection along side the coach’s gives you a good a feeling. So go on guys. All I see is Nig 1 vs Croatia 0

  • I would prefer a 3 5 2 formation..  Omeruo, effiong, balogun.. Ebuehin, Ogu,Ndidi,  Mikel, Moses.. Iwobi, Igalo.. I think this is a better formation coz we should have a compatible midfield who can stop the process of Modric and Rakitic

  • my own contribution is that iwobi is preferable at second half bcos in previous matches played as a substitute always perform well

  • freeme, eleniyan 5 months ago

    I will suggest this formation and it may work perfectly well. 4:3:3Uzoho, df: ebuehi, ekong, balogun, brown. Middle: ndidi, Mikel, etebo. Attack: moses, igahlo, iwobi. But for 3:5:2. Uzoho. Ekong, balogun, ogu. Moses. Rwb, brown lwb. Ndidi, Mikel. Iwobi, igahlo. With God all things are possible

  • nathan 5 months ago

    with this comment, you should be coaching Bukola babes.

    on point man.

  • Maurice 5 months ago

    all of you are wrong,is only the coach that is right in the formation to be adopted