England vs Nigeria preview: Super Eagles to test their might against Three Lions
Nigeria continue their World Cup preparation with their toughest test yet at the Wembley Stadium against England.
After the 1-1 draw against DR Congo at the bumpy Amiesimaka stadium on Monday, the Super Eagles step up preparations for Russia 2018 with the friendly against quality opposition.
With the Super Eagles squad whittled to 25-men after it was confirmed Simon Moses has been ruled out of the World Cup, Gernot Rohr will test the strength of his squad against the Three Lions.
With the return of Victor Moses to the side and Mikel Obi set to start, the team is almost at full strength with only Leicester City midfield destroyer Wilfred Ndidi missing.
Placed in the same group as Argentina, Iceland and Croatia, the Super Eagles will hope to head into the World Cup in good shape and high spirits so as to qualify from the tough group.
The resoluteness of the defence will be tested with Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong set to duke it out against Tottenham’s Harry Kane, a step up from DR Congo’s Benik Afobe, who caused substantial problems for the Oyinbo wall.
In the attack also, after Simy Nwankwo’s commendable showing in the last friendly, Odion Ighalo, Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi will need to be incisve and efficient playing against England’s nigh impregnable three-man defence.
Both teams last played at the World Cup in 2002 in a game which ended goalless while England won by a lone goal, the last and only meeting between the sides at the Wembley Stadium in November 1994 after the World Cup.
For the Three Lions replete with Premier League stars, the match will serve as ample opportunity for Gareth Southgate to see how expansive his side can be against a deep lying counter attacking side.
Grouped alongside Belgium, Panama and Tunisia, England will be playing against sides with numbers behind the ball especially the latter two.
Nigeria and England qualified for the World Cup with relative ease and both sides will hope to make a mark at the tournament to varying degrees.
The Super Eagles will travel to Austria after the game for the final phase of their World Cup preparation. Rohr’s men will play against Czech Republic in their final friendly on June 6 before their first match in Russia against Croatia.
Possible XI: Uzoho; Abdullahi, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Idowu; Onazi, Ogu, Mikel; Iwobi, Ighalo, Moses
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