Nigeria: Out of the World Cup, but leaving with hope for the future

REUTERS/Toru Hanai

"I thought before this World Cup we were here to learn," Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr said after his side's 2-0 victory against Iceland. "I think this team will be ready in 2022 and this World Cup is coming early," Rohr continued.

The Super Eagles were poor in their opening Group D defeat to Croatia, but the half-time break against Iceland in the following fixture proved to be the decisive turning point, as Ahmed Musa netted a brace to kick-start their World Cup campaign.

What I like in my young team is humility, solidarity and fighting spirit - Gernot Rohr.

With a chance to qualify for the last-16, Nigeria were perhaps overwhelmed by the fighting spirit of the Argentines, though, in fairness, Odion Ighalo wasted two glorious opportunities to secure a knockout place with the score still 1-1.

As it was, the Super Eagles were undone by an unexpected piece of Marcos Rojo magic and they were sent packing from Russia. They can leave with their heads held high, however, full of hope and optimism for the next iteration of the tournament.

Here are the Super Eagles to watch out for in 2022: