Nigeria will be Africa’s biggest hope at the World Cup in Russia, as they look to become the first country from the continent to reach the semifinals of the biggest tournament in the world.
With names such as Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel and Alex Iwobi in their squad, the current Nigerian outfit is among the strongest they have ever had, and a kind group this summer gives them a realistic chance of reaching the knockout stages for the second time in a row.
The personnel and the draw, not to mention THAT kit, make Nigeria one of the best teams to manage on the World Cup update on FIFA 18. If you want to win a history-making World Cup with an underdog, the Super Eagles are the team for you.
Nigeria receive a four star rating for the World Cup, which consists of a 75 attack, 76 midfield and 72 defence.
Nigeria’s potential World Cup fixtures
Round of 16
Uruguay or Portugal
Brazil or Belgium
Nigerian fans will be pleased with the group stage draw, especially given they defeated Argentina 4-2 back in November. The other two sides, Croatia and Iceland, are winnable ties for the pacey Nigerian side, and there is no reason that the Super Eagles cannot progress to the knockouts.
It’s a big step up if you get to the Round of 16, where France will likely wait. The French hold even more pace than Nigeria and have no serious areas of weakness. You will need to defend deep and try to hit Les Bleus on the counter-attack if you are to reach the quarterfinals.
A last eight tie against either Uruguay or Portugal is a favourable fixture, and although they still are both stronger than Nigeria, there is definitely room for an upset. For the semifinals, a clash against Brazil or Belgium looks like a tough ask for a thin Nigeria squad, as does a trip to the final to face Spain, Argentina or World Champions Germany.
Nigeria use a 4-2-3-1 wide formation, which is well balanced so you should stick with the formation for your World Cup campaign.
Carl Ikeme takes the goalkeeping spot, with Shehu Abdullahi, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Elderson Echiejile in defence.
John Obi Mikel and midfield engine Wilfred Ndidi (88 stamina) shield the defence, as the dangerous Victor Moses (84 dribbling) and Alex Iwobi provide the width.
You may wish to move Kelechi Iheanacho into a centre forward position to play just off Odion Ighalo in attack.
On the bench opt for Francis Uzoho, Kenneth Omeruo, Ola Aina, Ogenyi Onazi, Moses Simon, Ahmed Musa and Obafemi Martins.
Tactically, it’s not easy to judge what to do with this Nigeria side. They have speed, but the defence is nowhere near strong enough to leave it exposed on the counter-attack.
Going forward, it’s important that there is movement behind striker Odion Ighalo. His strike partner Kelechi Iheanacho can lead this if you allow to him to ‘free roam’ for positioning freedom on the instructions tab, and he should also ‘get into box for crosses’. You should also do the same for left midfielder Alex Iwobi.
You have strength in central midfield through John Obi Mikel and Wilfred Ndidi, and it's important you dictate the tempo with the pair. Four attacking outlets lie ahead of them, and they both have the capacity to find them.
If you need a goal in the last half an hour, fear not, as there is heaps of pace on the bench. Ahmed Musa (92 sprint speed) and Moses Simon (93 agility) can play either on the flanks or up front to get that decisive goal.
Fly with the Super Eagles
It won’t be easy to go on a run deep into the tournament with Nigeria, but boy, it’ll be fun. Getting that balance between attack and defence will be hard, therefore your midfield partnership of John Obi Mikel and Wilfred Ndidi will be vital.
Even with a generous group, a trip beyond the Round of 16 isn’t to be expected, unless you can top Group D. Nigeria did defeat Argentina in the autumn and only lost 3-2 four years ago in Brazil, so there is certainly a chance for them. Africa need a World Cup semifinalist, but can you deliver?
Nigeria squad player ratings
|Francis Uzoho||19||GK||Deportivo La Coruna||68|
|Ikechukwu Ezenwa||29||GK||Ifeanyi Ubah||68|
|Daniel Akpeyi||31||GK||Chippa United||65|
|Oladele Ajiboye||27||GK||Plateau United||64|
|Kenneth Omeruo||24||CB RB||Kasimpasa||72|
|Chidozie Awaziem||21||CB RB||Nantes||72|
|Elderson Echiejile||30||LB||Cercle Brugge||71|
|Ola Aina||21||LB RB||Hull||70|
|Efe Ambrose||29||CB RB||Hibernian||69|
|Brian Idowu||26||LB LWB CB LM||Amkar Perm||69|
|Stephen Eze||24||CB||Lokomotiv Plovdiv||65|
|Musa Muhammed||21||RB LB||Lokomotiv Plovdiv||65|
|Kingsley Madu||22||LB||Zulte Waregem||65|
|Victor Moses||27||RM RWB||Chelsea||80|
|John Obi Mikel||31||CM||Tianjin TEDA||77|
|Alex Iwobi||22||LM ST||Arsenal||76|
|Moses Simon||22||LM ST||Gent||74|
|Joel Obi||27||CM CDM||Torino||74|
|Ahmed Musa||25||RM ST||CSKA Moscow||74|
|Oghenekaro Etebo||22||CAM LM RM||Las Palmas||73|
|John Ogu||30||CM CDM CAM||Hapoel Be’er Sheva||72|
|Uche Henry Agbo||22||CDM CB||Standard Liege||72|
|Odion Ighalo||28||ST||Changchun Yatai||76|
|Kelechi Iheanacho||21||ST CAM||Leicester||75|
|Obafemi Martins||33||ST||Shanghai Shenhua||74|
|Anthony Nwakaeme||29||ST LM||Hapoel Be’er Sheva||72|
|Olarenwaju Kayode||25||ST||Shakhtar Donetsk||72|
|Junior Lokosa||24||ST||Kano Pillars||65|