Nigeria Gear Up For Iceland Clash With Training Session As Gernot Rohr Insists His Side Are Underdogs Ahead Of Group D Tie

Nigeria were training on the eve of their crunch encounter against Iceland in Volgograd

Nigeria prepared for their crunch Group D encounter against Iceland on Thursday afternoon with a training session at the Volgograd Arena. 

The Super Eagles were put through their paces under the watchful gaze of coach Gernot Rohr on the pitch that will play host to Friday’s clash.

Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi looked completely at ease as he jogged alongside his international team-mates despite Nigeria facing elimination from the tournament should they suffer defeat by Iceland.

Alex Iwobi was all smiles as Nigeria geared up for their crunch Group D match with Iceland

Simeon Nwankwo sprays insect repellent onto his arm amid the plague of midges in Volgograd

Odion Ighalo (second right) will be hoping to get off the mark this tournament against Iceland

Iwobi shares a joke with Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho as the squad jogged on Thursday

Chelsea’s Victor Moses and former Stamford Bridge midfielder Jon Obi Mikel were also present as Nigeria put the finishing touches to their preparations in training.

Nigeria are hoping to bounce back from the below-par performance they produced in their 2-0 defeat by Croatia in their opening match.

Argentina will be watching the Nigeria’s clash against Iceland with great interest after they suffered a chastening 3-0 loss to Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side know their World Cup fate is no longer in their hands after collecting just one point from their opening two matches in Russia.

Iceland can take a huge step towards the last 16 with victory on Friday and Rohr believes the minnows have to be viewed as favourites to win the match due to the relative inexperience of his squad.

‘Why we don’t have star players? It’s because we are the youngest team of the World Cup,’ Rohr told reporters at a press conference ahead of the match.

‘We have Obi Mikel, who is a very good player, you can tell that he is a star, we have Victor Moses who is well known everywhere but we have so many young players, they will be stars, I hope so.

‘What we have is a team for 2022, because when you are so young, with the goalkeeper and all the other people, they will be better and better.

Rohr pointed to the FIFA world rankings for reference, suggest that his Nigeria side should be regarded as the outsiders in comparison to their Group D opponents.

‘We are in the top 50 in the world, Iceland is in the top 20 (22), Croatia is in the top 12 (20) and Argentina in the top eight,’ Rohr said.

‘When I see that the matches are so difficult and the scores are so close, we have to learn also, it is not finished after this World Cup for us. We want to improve, we want to learn. When you are the youngest, it is not possible, perhaps, to be the best already.’

His captain Obi Mikel, who now plays for Chinese Super League club Tianjin TEDA, insists he is prepared to sacrifice to ensure Nigeria have the best chance to reach the knockout stages.

‘I’m the captain of this team. If I have to sacrifice for this team to progress, I will,’ the 31-year-old told Nigeria’s official website. ‘If I have to sacrifice a position, go play wherever I will do that for this team to win games.’


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