Bruised Super Eagles looking to answer several questions in crucial Group D clash

Bruised Super Eagles of Nigeria look to bounce back from the 2-0 loss to Croatia as they take on Iceland.

Before the loss in Kaliningrad, there have been little criticism of  Rohr, largely because the Super Eagles have shown remarkable improvement under him while the successful qualification process for the 2018 FIFA World Cup have given the benefit of doubt.

He caught a hint of how critical Nigerian football enthusiasts can be when the Super Eagles suffered a shocking 2-0 home loss to South Africa in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers in June 2017.

A 4-0 win over Cameroon in August followed which quickly swept away the bad press and the subsequent results have also been impressive.

But the criticisms have come in full force following Super Eagles 2-0 loss to Croatia on Friday and some of his decisions have raised several questions.

Mikel Obi a 10 or a DM

The paramount question has been the best position for his captain and leader of the team, Mikel John Obi.

Mikel played as the No 10 against Croatia but performed poorly which has raised calls for him to be used as a defensive midfielder while some have suggested that the former Chelsea star should be dropped ultimately.

Even Mikel former boss at ChelseaJose Mourinho has chipped in the debate saying; “Nigeria lost a good No.6 to get a bad No.10.”

Mikel is ready to make the sacrifice. “If I have to sacrifice for this team to progress, I will. If I have to sacrifice a position, go play wherever, I will do that for this team to win games,” The Super Eagles captain said in a press conference ahead of the crucial game against Iceland.

Rohr, however, remains bullish about his decision, hinting that he is set to stick with his decision to play Mikel as a No 10.

His argument for this is that he has been successful up to this point using Mikel as a 10.

“Perhaps he wants us to play with three number 6,” Rohr said in response to Mourinho’s comments.

“We won out games for two years I have been here with Obi Mikel in this offensive position.

“He is key with his passes, remember against Cameroon, we won 4-0, it was exactly the same organisation.

“So if we have played this Mikel as a No. 6 and another No. 10 and we lost the game, you would have the same questions.”

Mikel’s best position for the Super Eagles has not been the only cause for debate.

Other questions for Super Eagles boss

There was also a huge outcry over Rohr’s decision to play Alex Iwobi from the wing, starting Shehu Abdullahi over Tyronne Ebuehi and not sticking with the three-man defence system that has worked for him in recent friendly games.

Signs from  Super Eagles training sessions have suggested that they will be huge changes to the starting XI for the Iceland game.

Following the 2-0 loss to Croatia, there have also been rallying cry from the bruised Super Eagles.

“Disappointed with the result last night but we win together and lose together and will dust ourselves down and be ready to fight again. We are working hard to put things right,” Victor Moses tweeted after the game.

“Not the start we wanted last night. Time now to focus and prepare for the next game. We will bounce back,” William Troost Ekong also tweeted.

Iceland will present a stern test for the Super Eagles after their impressive showing against Argentina.

The Strakarnir Okkar stifled Lionel Messi and held Argentina to a 1-1 draw and taking lessons from their impressive showing at Euro 2016 and the qualifiers, it won’t be a surprise to see Iceland in the round of 16.


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