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Rohr still hopeful of qualification despite Eagles’ loss to Croatia

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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. OZAN KOSE / AFP

Despite losing 0-2 to Croatian in their opening game of the on-going FIFA World cup in Russia, Super Eagles’ Manager, Gernot Rohr still harbours hope that his side will qualify for the second round.

Nigeria sits bottom of group D with no point, Croatian leads the group with three points, while Argentina and Iceland have a point apiece following their 1-1 draw in the group’s opening game.

Croatia exploited Nigeria’s inability to defend set pieces to beat the Eagles 2-0, but Rohr hopes Friday would be better when his wards will meet Iceland.

The Franco-German said at the post match meeting on Saturday that the Croatians exploited Nigeria’s inexperience to win the game, acknowledging that “Croatia had the better team tonight and my young players made some mistakes.”

He agreed that conceding goals from two corner kicks may show that his team was not prepared for the set-piece situation, but he said such mistakes occur sometimes in the game.

“We will continue working on the team; especially our reactions to certain conditions, but all hope are not lost.

“I think these young players need time to learn, sometimes they were a little bit naive on the set pieces but we will work on it.

“We will work on our attack because it was ineffective for a long period. We didn’t have so many opportunities to score.

“You need to make at least four points if you want to qualify… nothing is lost. All is in our hands so let’s be positive we believe we can do it.

“We have the youngest team in the world at this World Cup; let them learn from this match.

“I think we can do better than what we did today. Everything is possible in football. We need to make at least four points from the matches against Argentina and Iceland. We are only a point behind in the group and so all is not lost.”

Rohr also lamented the absence of the usually vociferous Nigerian fans, saying the atmosphere inside the stadium was as if Croatia was playing at home.


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