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Don’t fail me, coach tells Eagles

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Nigeria’s German coach Gernot Rohr (L) speaks with Nigeria’s forward Victor Moses (R) as they take part in a training session of Nigeria’s national football team at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg, on June 25, 2018 on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Nigeria and Argentina. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, knows the task ahead, as Nigeria attempts to wrestle down former world champions, Argentina, in a make or mar last Group D encounter this afternoon in St. Petersburg.

La Albiceleste of Argentina has only one point to show for its efforts in two matches in the group, while Super Eagles have three points. The two rivals need the three points to be sure of avoiding the drop in today’s tie, which will hold at the 67,000-capacity in Zenit Arena.

To surmount the situation, Rohr said his players must live up to the big task. He is banking on his strikers to prove to the Argentines that their performance against Iceland last Friday in Volgograd was not a fluke.

Rohr thinks a draw against Argentina would be enough for the Super Eagles to qualify for the last 16, if Iceland fails to overturn a three-goal deficit in their game against run-away group leader, Croatia.

He said yesterday: ”We must take our chances, and be on the offensive as much as possible. Perhaps, a draw could be good to qualify, but we cannot think and play for a draw. Sometimes, when you play for a draw, you get punched in the face late in the day.

‘’It will be a tough game and we must go with a tough mentality from the start to the end,” Rohr stated.

This is the eight meeting between Nigeria and Argentina, and the South Americans had won in all four competitive games, drew one and lost in two international friendlies.

Their first encounter at USA ’94 ended 2-1 in favour of the White and Sky Blues South Americans, while they played 0-0 at the Confederations Cup in Saudi Arabia in 1995.

At Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup, the Super Eagles went down 0-1, while their encounter at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa also went the way of the Argentines with 1-0 victory.

Eagles first victory over La Albiceleste came in 2011 in Abuja during an international friendly game, which ended 4-1. But the Argentines responded quickly with a 3-1 win in another international friendly duel at Dhaka Bangladesh.

During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Argentina won 3-2 in their last group game, but Nigeria won the last international friendly match 4-2 against them.

However, there is tension in the Nigerian camp ahead of today’s battle at St. Petersburg.


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