Disorganised Nigeria capable of disorienting others, says Mascherano
The Super Eagles are expected to arrive in their Russia 2018 World Cup base camp in Yessentuki, Russia today. The team is expected to fly out of their Avita Resort in Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Austria, where they have been camped for close to two weeks, for the Russian city where they will prepare for all their group games at their sixth World Cup.
Since emerging from an appropriately–styled ‘Group of Death’ in the African qualifying series, becoming the first African team to reach the finals in Russia, the Eagles have played against Argentina, Poland, Serbia, DR Congo, England and Czech Republic in friendlies, winning two, drawing one and losing three.
Nigeria’s first match of the finals is against Croatia on Saturday, with the Eagles logging a balanced record of having won their opening match at the World Cup on two occasions, drawn once and lost twice. On the three occasions they have not lost their opening match (1994, 1998, 2014), the Eagles have progressed to the Round of 16.
Rohr has only lost one competitive game since taking over the Super Eagles two years ago, and the former German international defender says his wards know how to get their spring back when the whistle goes for kick –off at the Kaliningrad Arena on Saturday.
“We will take it one match at a time. I love this group because we know how to rise to the occasion together. Nigeria will be ready for Croatia,” he told thenff.com.
Meanwhile, Argentina defender, Javier Mascherano has said that Nigeria are capable of destabilizing them, when they meet at the 2018 World Cup.
Mascherano stated this in an interview with the UK Guardian, while assessing their Group D opponents.
Argentina are in Group D with Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland.
This will be the third time Mascherano will be facing the Super Eagles at the World Cup. The defender-cum-midfielder was in the Argentina squad that beat the Super Eagles at South Africa 2010 (1-0) and Brazil 2014 (3-2) World Cups.
“Iceland are a new team in the sense that they maybe don’t have a long football tradition but they’re a generation of players that have made history recently, with spectacular success at Euro 16, and qualifying ahead of Croatia.
“Croatia are a first-class side with top players, especially in the midfield, such as Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic, Rakitic … Perisic; a team to watch out, quality squad.
“And Nigeria are quite well known to us, we’ve always met in the last World Cups. They’re tough, not just because of their physical power, but because their disorganisation has the effect of disorganising you as a rival. And that’s when teams like ours suffer the most – in disorder,” he said.