Okocha: Why Super Eagles Lost To Argentina; Ighalo Should Have Scored

Former Nigerian captain, Austin Okocha has admitted that the Super Eagles lost  to Argentina at the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Saint Petersburg, Russia due to the ‘limited experience’.
Argentina scraped through to the Round of 16 after Lionel Messi broke his drought at the tournament to give the two’time world champions the lead in the 13th minute.
It was the fifth time the Nigeria team was losing to Argentina at the World Cup.
Victor Moses restored parity for the Super Eagles from the spot after Javier Mascherano was adjudged to have fouled Leon Balogun in the box.
Marcos Rojo scored a stunning late winner three minutes from time to send Jorge Sampaoli’s side to the next round.
“Uzoho kept us in the game with the saves he made in the second half. We panicked in the first half,” Okocha said during his analysis on SuperSport during the game.
“If you want to be a bit harsh. We were not clear to keep more players in attack. We were limited in terms of experience.
“It was a gift from Mascherano but then I thought we started the second half better. We got ourselves in better places. It was a fantastic penalty from Moses but I think we should have put them under more pressure.”
On the controversial penalty denied the Super Eagles, the former Bolton Wanderers playmaker said the Nigerian team did not put more pressure on the referee.
Marcos Rojo handled the ball in the box involuntarily and the referee viewed it on VAR but ruled it out.
“Nobody appealed under the referee. We know what the Argentines are like. Rojo got away with one.”
On Wilfred Ndidi’s chance in the 76th minute, Okocha said: “He had more time to keep the ball down to take a good shot.
“Scoring is not his thing but I feel he should have kept the ball a close more to take a better shot.”
On Odion Ighalo’s miss, Okocha’s said: “It was a glorious chance, the ball sat down well for him. If I was Ighalo I would try to force a save from the goalkeeper. If you don’t hit the target you don’t get your job done.”
Ighalo extended his goal drought to eight games. The Changchun Yatai striker has scored four goals in 21 games for the Super Eagles.
On the late goal the team conceded, the former PSG play maker added: “We’ve seen so many late goals in this tournament. Poor defending. Moses reacted late. I have seen him deal with that at Chelsea. I can’t fault the effort of the player the gave their best.
“It was going to be tough for us and it lived up to that and it went to the last three minutes, but I think we have to look at the bigger picture. Most of these players it was the first time.
“For the manager he did well. It’s about continutiy. We don’t have to point fingers at anyone.”

Messi: Super Eagles Made Us Suffer

Argentina skipper Lionel Messi has admitted the Super Eagles made them suffer in their nervy 2-1 win in Tuesday’s Group D Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup clash.

Messi gave Argentina the lead early in the first half before Victor Moses drew the Super Eagles level.

But with four minutes left Marcos Rojo scored the winner to take Argentina through to the round of 16.

“We suffered a lot,” Messi said on FIFA.com.

“There was a lot at stake. It was a huge relief, a relief for all of us. We didn’t think we would suffer this much.”

And ahead of their round of 16 clash against France, Messi said they will be prepared for a tough game.

“We have watched every single France game. We follow every game. France is a very good team with skilled individual players. They have very fast players who can really make a difference. I know what we will have to do. It will be a very tough game, no doubt.”

Rohr: Super Eagles Unlucky Vs Argentina; I Shouldn’t Have Started Iheanacho

Super Eagles manager Rohr Gernot insists his side were unlucky to have bowed out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Lionel Messi scored a superb first-half opener in the 14th minute which was cancelled out by a penalty by Victor Moses six minutes into the second half.

Marcos Rojo scored an 86th-minute winner to send Rohr’s men packing from the competition.

“It was a little bit down to luck and we didn’t have it today,” Rohr said in his post-match interview.

“We did so well. We had the problem of having one day less than Argentina to prepare. Perhaps, at the end of the match, that was dangerous.”

He also admitted that he erred in starting an unfit Kelechi Iheanacho.

“Everybody did well. The goal was coming. When I see what happened in the first half, perhaps I wouldn’t start with the same team because Iheanacho wasn’t fit,” Rohr explained.

On the appeal for a second penalty for his team when Marcos Rojo handled the ball, Rohr claimed that it was handball.

“I believe it was a hand. I didn’t see the video. It’s difficult for the referee to make a good interpretation of the video.”

Argentina Showdown: Mikel To Play With Protection

Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel is expected to be fully fit for the team’s decisive World Cup clash against Argentina on Tuesday, after the Tianjin Teda midfielder trained with the rest of the squad on Monday night.
Mikel, who sprained his wrist in the closing stages of the Eagles’ 2-0 win over Iceland last Friday, visited the hospital immediately the team arrived at St. Petersburg on Sunday and is expected to wear a wrist protector should the match officials allow him to do so.
Similarly, the Eagles had a feel of the 75,000 capacity St. Petersburg Stadium on Monday evening with the first 15 minutes open to media for filming before the team went into a closed-door training session to perfect strategies ahead of the clash.
Nigeria will face Argentina in arguably one of the tightest clash at the ongoing World Cup with a place in the Round of 16 up for grabs.

Argentina Coach Sampaoli Names One Key Player In Nigeria Squad

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli analyzed the Nigeria National Team during Monday afternoon’s press conference in St. Petersburg and mentioned Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses as one of the most important players in the Super Eagles squad.
The two-time world champions are not at their best level ahead of tomorrow’s match at Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg following their 3-0 loss to Croatia and 1-1 stalemate vs Iceland and there was talk of a mutiny leading up to the clash with Nigeria.
”Nigeria is a national team that play with two different formations, with Croatia almost a 4-3-3, now they are playing with almost 5-3-2,” Sampaoli stated.
”We have faced them and played them with two styles and formations. They have very relevant players with a lot of experience such as Moses and the team in the second half of the matches they tend to make the difference from the physical standpoint, and they tend to play from box to box.
”That makes them a very difficult opponent if you can’t dominate the game, so for for us Argentina we will have to control the game.”
Nigeria have kept seven clean-sheets in the World Cup to date and are likely to progress to the round of sixteen if Lionel Messi and co. fail to find the net tomorrow.

Beating Argentina Could Change Our Football Careers, Says Ogu

Super Eagles’ midfielder, John Ugochukwu Ogu has hinted that the team is ready for the make or mar fixture against the Albecietes of Argentina.

Speaking shortly after the team arrived St. Petersburg, Ogu said that they had two training sessions after the victory against Iceland and everyone is in good spirit.

“The truth is that we are ready. We had two training sessions after the game against Iceland and everyone is in good spirit. We are looking forward to this game against Argentina because we know that if we win, it could change our lives as football players,” Ogu said.

Describing the Super Eagles Franco-German coach as somebody who likes to win all the time, Ogu said his words inspired the team’s change of attitude in second half against Iceland.

“I think we have a manager who is very tough. A manager who wants to win and always wants the best for the players. After the first half, he told us things that we the players felt could really help us.

“Iceland, were very physical and strong. We didn’t really do badly. But I think that we came out in the second half to play. That’s what we did and that’s what helped us to score. The manager made us believe we could do it and that’s why we did it,” Ogu said.

The Hapoel Be’er Sheva midfielder, who missed out on the 2014 World Cup is living out the dream in the ongoing 2018 World Cup, noting that it is an honour to play for Nigeria.

“For me, it’s a dream come true. I missed out at the last World Cup but today I’m here hoping I get the minutes to play. But I’m so excited to be here, representing my country in the World Cup. It’s a big achievement for me and I just want to help the country. I want to put smiles on the faces of every Nigerian through my performance on the pitch.

“I still want more. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a player that gives everything on the pitch. If I’m on the pitch, I play for the fans and the manager before playing for myself. I’m a fighter, I always want to play and I always want to win. But if I don’t get to play, I feel the manager knows what’s good for the team and we have players doing well too. So I will keep working” Ogu concluded.

Eagles To Train At St Petersburg Stadium Ahead Argentina Clash

The Super Eagles will have their official training inside the Saint Petersburg Stadium on Monday at 5:30pm ahead of their crucial Group D Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup clash against Argentina on Tuesday.

This was announced on the Super Eagles’ verified Twitter handle on Monday.

Before their training session, the Super Eagles official pre-match press conference also holds on Monday by 5pm.

The training session will however be open to the media for 15 minutes.

“Our official pre match press conference, ahead of Tuesday’s game vs #ARG holds at 5pm today. Our official training, which is open for 15 minutes filming, begins immediately after, at 5.30pm. Venue: St Petersburg Stadium,” the Super Eagles handle stated.

The Super Eagles must avoid defeat against Argentina and hope Iceland does not get a favourable result against Croatia which will also be played on Tuesday.

Croatia lead the group on six points and have already qualified for the round of 16, the Super Eagles are second on three points, Iceland and Argentina who both have one point, are third and fourth respectively.


Sampaoli Is Clueless – Zabaleta

Former Argentina and Manchester City star Pablo Zabaleta has urged the Albiceleste to come up with their A game against a strong Super Eagles side ahead of Tuesday’s crucial Group D 2018 FIFA World Cup clash in Saint Petersburg.
Argentina have been very poor so far at this summer’s World Cup as they are currently bottom of Group D with just one point from two matches.
They were held to a surprise 1-1 draw against Iceland before suffering a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Croatia.
However, they can still progress into the round of 16 provided they beat the Super Eagles and Iceland fail to secure a heavy win against Croatia.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Zabaleta said the two-time World Cup winners are still in with a shout.
“We still have a chance though,” Zabaleta said.
“Nigeria is a strong team but the players need to turn up. With the quality we have up front you expect us to score goals.”
He however berated head coach Jorge Sampaoli for the team’s poor performance, labelling him clueless.
“Jorge Sampaoli has made mistakes in selections. In the game against Iceland it wasn’t a great game. He played four at the back with two defensive midfielders against a side who defended the whole game behind the ball,” he added.

“We lacked creativity around Messi in the 18 yard box: the transition from back to front is too slow sometimes. Against Croatia we switched to three at the back; new players, new formations. The manager doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

Messi: I Must Win World Cup Before I Retire

Argentina captain Lionel Messi has vowed to win the World Cup before he retires from football.

Messi, who clocked 31 on Sunday, was quoted in the Mirror as saying: “It means so much because for Argentina the World Cup is special – and for me too.

“I’ve always had the dream of watching me raise the World Cup. And then seeing the emotion that goes with it.

“My hair stands on end just thinking about that moment. It would make millions of Argentine’s in the world happy.

“So we cannot give up on that dream.

“I have won all the most important tournaments but I am ambitious to the end. I would not like to retire from active football without being a world champion with my country.”

Messi and his Argentina teammates face elimination from the Russia 2018 World Cup on Tuesday as any result other than victory against the Super Eagles will send the Brazil 2014 finalists packing.

Kanu Backs Super Eagles To Beat Argentina

Former Super Eagles captain Nwankwo Kanu has backed the team to beat Argentina in their final Group D game in Saint Petersburg at the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday.

Gernot Rohr’s men sit in second position in Group D with three points following their 2-0 win against Iceland on Friday.

Argentina occupy last place with one point after they were thrashed 3-0 by Croatia on Thursday.

A win against the South Americans will send the Super Eagles into the second round while a draw will be enough depending on the outcome of the game between Croatia and Iceland.

“Nigeria 🇳🇬 vs Argentina 🇦🇷 KAN U BELIEVE?YES WE KAN and KAN WE DO IT?YES WE KAN HAHAHAHAHA Up Super Eagles.MARADONA believed and papilo believed 🙏🙏🙏💪💪💪🙌🙌 #supereagles #positivevibes #believe #wecandoit @thenffofficial #hardwork #nigeria #africa #thankgod,”reads a tweet on his Twitter handle.

Worldcup: I’m Going to Score Another 2 Goals, Musa Assures Nigerians

Deadly Ahmed Musa struck two stunning goals to sink Iceland 2-0 on Friday and then promised to do the same to Lionel Messi’s Argentina in Tuesday’s Group D showdown.

The Leicester City striker, currently on loan at CSKA Moscow, became the first Nigerian to score at two World Cups as the Super Eagles secured a crucial win over Iceland, who missed a penalty.

He scored both goals in Nigeria’s group stage 3-2 defeat to Argentina in Porto Alegre, Brazil, four years ago and is relishing the chance to do it again.

But this time he hopes it will knock out the South Americans.

“I think scoring against Argentina isn’t that difficult for me,” he smiled after his man-of-the-match performance in Volgograd. “We know the importance of the game. It’s do-or-die.”

The African side will secure a spot in the knockout stage alongside Croatia if they beat Argentina.

A draw would be enough to eliminate the Argentines but would leave Nigeria’s fate resting on the outcome of Iceland’s game against Croatia which kicks off at the same time.

Musa also scored twice for Leicester in a 4-2 pre-season friendly defeat against Messi-inspired Barcelona two years ago and said he always scores when up against the Argentine superstar.

“I can remember four years ago when Messi played in Brazil I scored two goals,” he recalled.

“And when I transferred to Leicester I played against Barcelona and he’s on the pitch and I scored another two goals.

“So I think next game anything can happen — possibly I’m going to score another two goals,” he laughed.