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Eagles’ underestimation of Croatia cause of defeat, says Chukwu

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Nigeria’s players react after during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Croatia and Nigeria at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 16, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Former Super Eagles Coach Christian Chukwu has stated that the 0-2 loss by Eagles to ‘The Blazers’ of Croatia was due to the players approach, saying that the team lacked composure and commitment against their opponent.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Chukwu said that the noise made over the Eagles before the duel, contributed to the team’s thinking little of their opponent.

Chukwu stated that the zeal and fighting spirit shown by Nigerian teams in the past tournament like the FIFA World Cup was lacking in the current Eagles in Russia.

He, however, said that the team must step up their game in subsequent matches in order to qualify for the next round of the Mundial, adding that much work was still needed to be done in all departments of the team to keep the players in top shape.

The erstwhile Harambee Stars of Kenya coach also charged the team to raise the standard of its game against Iceland, stressing that the Eagles must put the defeat against the Croatia behind them to succeed in their two remaining games.

“The Eagles played like children against Croatia. I don’t understand what happened. May be the much hype of the team before the tournament made them underestimate their opponents.

“Some people have already seen them picking three points before their first game. Their approach to the match was slow and uncoordinated. The Eagles lacked the fighting power, which is the hallmark of a Nigerian team in the game against Croatia,” he said.

While admonishing the Eagles to redouble their effort and strategise on the next game, Chukwu said: “My advice to them is to go back to the drawing board to see the areas they made mistakes and work on them.

“Playing against Iceland and Argentina would be very tough, but the Eagles have to first seek for a way to outshine Iceland first before their next opponent to avoid making mistakes again. Every match should be approached as it comes, “Chukwu added.


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