World Cup: Nigeria’s qualification, optimism and reality
By George Onmonya Daniel
Most Nigerians are still optimistic that Nigeria would still qualify from Group D after losing to Croatia. It is not over until it is all over, but this one doesn’t look good.
Nigeria’s Super Eagle play Iceland on Thursday and from the game with Argentina, the Icelanders don’t look like they are not underdogs but are in the World Cup to compete. They are regimented and so disciplined that they make few mistakes defensively.
Argentina are familiar foes. They have met the Super Eagles two times in the World Cup and they won in very tight games. In every World Cup Argentina have something to prove and they come to everyone with the mindset to win.
To qualify from that group Nigeria must beat Iceland on Thursday. The Icelander honestly look tougher than Croatia. They defend well and they attack well if they want to attack. Nigeria haven’t done well in their last three matches before the World Cup match which they lost.
Is beating Iceland possible? Of course beating anyone is possible, but this cold as ice Icelanders don’t look like they can be beaten by prayers and luck but preparation and superior tactics. They would study the Super Eagles like they study rocket science and know how to play Nigeria. That’s the difference between Oyibo and us. They study and analyze you and they would surprise you if you don’t study and analyze them the way they study you.
You have seen the game against Argentina, you know how tough they can be. The Icelanders came second in a group with Turkey, Ukraine and Croatia with 20 points when Croatia that came top have 22 points. Nigeria must do much more than they did against Croatia, they must put all and unless they do that, they would be coming home. Iceland must be a must win.
Nigeria’s last match would be against Argentina and for the Argentines it would be personal. You all know Argentina’s reputation and with Messi, perhaps this may be his last World Cup, he would do anything and everything to make it through to the second round. So the Nigeria and Argentina game would be the toughest Nigeria vs Argentina game or the World Cup if we beat Iceland, that is if we beat Iceland and have something to play for.
What we cannot do is to depend on luck and prayers. If luck and prayers win these things, Saudi Arabia wouldn’t have gone down 5 – 0 to Russia. They have the Ka’aba in their country and the biggest and most visited mosques in the World.
The reality is that it is possible to qualify and why not? But if the Super Eagles must qualify they have to play as if they are seeing the cup in front of them and they have to give it their one hundred and more percent. They have to give it everything and throw everything at it. That when you get lucky when you play like your life depend on it.
Even though in my heart of hearts I see the mountain as Everest I must say Everest can be conquered. You know what it takes to do that. Hard work and not miracle.