2018 World Cup team preview: Nigeria

AP Photo/Matt Dunham
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Getting to know Nigeria: Yes, we know their jerseys are selling out, but the team’s pretty good, too.

With Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Victor Moses (Chelsea), and Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City), this may be the best Nigeria side at a World Cup since the 2002 side with Nwankwo Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha.

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Two of the Super Eagles’ four World Cup berths have ended in the Round of 16, including 2014’s 2-0 loss to France. Remember: this is a nation which has won a pair of U-17 World Cups in the past five years.

For more history on Nigeria, click here.

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What group are they in? D


Game schedule – Group D – Full 2018 World Cup schedule, here

Saturday, June 16: Croatia v Nigeria, Kaliningrad 3 p.m. ET
Friday, June 22: Nigeria v Iceland, Volgograd 11 a.m. ET
Tuesday, June 26: Nigeria v Argentina, St. Petersburg 2 p.m. ET


Projected lineup (4-3-3) – Check out the 23-man squad list in full

—– Uzoho —–

— Idowu — Troost-Ekung — Balogun — Shehu

—- Ndidi —- Onazi —- Obi —-

—- Iwobi —- Iheanacho —- Moses —-


Star player: Alex Iwobi – It was close, but Iwobi gets the nod over Chelsea’s Victor Moses. The Arsenal attacker is Jay-Jay Okocha’s nephew, and his two goals against Argentina last year served notice that he’s capable of shining on the international stage.


Manager: Gernot Rohr – The 64-year-old German has been around the block, doing club stints with Bordeaux, Nantes, Nice, and Young Boys as well as international duty with Gabon, Niger, and Burkina Faso.


Secret weapon: Wilfred Ndidi —  Just like in the Premier League with Leicester City, Ndidi may not stand out from the XI but he’s a disruptive force. At 20 years old, he’s got a chance to start a journey as an African legend of the World Cup.


Prediction: Man (or woman), is this a tough one. Argentina is one of the tournament favorites, and both Croatia and Nigeria could be considered the top dark horse of the field (lest we forget group mate Iceland’s EURO run). A lot rides on match No. 1 against Croatia, and we think Nigeria just comes up short in a bid to finish second.