With barely a few hours to the crucial FIFA World Cup Group D game against Iceland, the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has said that Nigeria have the tactics to beat the Nordic island country in the Volgograd Arena.
A second defeat following a 2-0 loss to Croatia in Group D will put Nigeria out of the running for a last-16 place and possibly lead to the German coach losing his job.
But the Super Eagles head coach said:
“For me it’s not a question to lose this game. I think we won’t lose so I don’t ask this question myself. You can ask after the game but I can tell you we will not lose.”
Marca quoted Rohr as adding that Nigeria “will have the tactics to win the match.”
He said his team were well organized against Croatia but were unfortunate to lose after conceding “two stupid goals” in an own goal and penalty.
Rohr also defended his decision to deploy Captain John Mikel Obi as an attacking rather than a defensive midfielder in the defeat, saying no one had complained during the team’s successful qualifying campaign.
His words: “Since I have been in Nigeria for two years now we play Mikel in this role as an offensive midfielder. It was going very well throughout our games and the team was built around him.
“I know he played in a defensive midfield role and I know in China he plays offensive and defensive. When we don’t have the ball everybody is defensive and when we have the ball everyone is offensive. With Etebo and Ndidi, we had two good defensive midfielders who did very well against Croatia despite playing for the first time together.”
“Mikel tried his best but it is not easy when you have to play against (Luka) Modric and (Ivan) Rakitic. When you see the clubs these players play and compare it to where our players play, there is a little difference.”
“We expect to win,” Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said Thursday of his expectations for the Group D game.
Victory would be the first for Iceland at their debut World Cup after opening with a 1-1 draw against Argentina at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on Saturday, and could put a foot through the door to the last 16.
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