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Mikel ready to lead Nigeria to knock out stage

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John Obi Mikel (R) of Nigeria celebrates his goal scored against Denmark during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s quarter-final football match Nigeria vs Denmark, at the Arena Fonte Nova Stadium in Salvador, Brazil on August 13, 2016<br />NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP

Super Eagles Captain, John Obi Mikel is keen to lead Nigeria to the knockout rounds of the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals, which will be hosted by Russia, reports africanfootball.com.

The Super Eagles are in Group D alongside European sides Iceland and Croatia and South American giants, Argentina. They will face Croatia in their first game on June 16.

The central midfielder will also be in action for Tianjin Teda FC during the 2018 Chinese Super League season, which will start this weekend.

“It will be a daunting challenge and I’m looking forward to both teams doing well, but now I’m totally in Tianjin Teda,” Mikel told Netease Sports.

“It will be a long year for me. Now I have all my energy in Tianjin Teda for the new season, I’ll wait until after the start of the World Cup, I will transfer the same to the Nigerian team.

“This year I have been well prepared to deal with the Super League and the World Cup, these two events for the two teams, I will certainly be balanced,” the 30-year-old added.

“I am looking forward to Tianjin Teda to achieve good results in the Super League, but also hope that Nigerian team can go farther and better in the World Cup.”

Meanwhile, the Volgograd Arena, which will host the 2018 World Cup Group D fixture between Nigeria and Iceland on June 22 is now ready, according to the website of FSUE Sport-Engineering, which is the developer and designer of the arena, writes Ria Sport.

The stadium, which was built on site of the demolished Central Stadium, at the foot of the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex, near the Volga Rivera has a capacity of 45,568 spectators.

Before Nigeria’s meeting with Iceland at Volgograd Arena, Tunisia will take on England on June 18.

The two other matches that will be played at the stadium are Saudi Arabia versus Egypt (June 25) and Japan versus Poland (June 28).

In late February, FIFA boss, Gianni Infantino said that Russia was ready for the tournament by 99 per cent, and it remained just the finishing touches.

The Super Eagles World Cup opener against Croatia on June 16 will take place at Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, while they will wrap up group play against Argentina at Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg 10 days later.


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