Nigeria – Group D – Overview and Nigeria betting tips

Nigeria have been a near-constant presence in the World Cup ever since they first qualified for the tournament back in 1994. The side breezed through the qualifying rounds thanks to the expert managerial skills of Gernot Rohr, and there is now a level of confidence and clarity in the Nigerian side that we have never seen before.

But do Nigeria have what it takes to be the first African side to reach the final four of the World Cup? Read our guide to Nigeria in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and find out more.

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Nigeria prediction: How well will they do?

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Nigeria face a tough challenge in Group D

Nigeria have found themselves in the unfortunate position of being placed in the tricky Group D. With challenging games against the likes of Argentina, Croatia and Iceland, there are many people who have been suggesting that Nigeria have no hope of reaching the final sixteen. Despite this, recent form lends credence to the idea that the Super Eagles could cause a few upsets in Group D.

On 16 June, Nigeria play their opening match against Croatia in Kaliningrad. This will be a testing encounter for Gernot Rohr’s team, as the Croatia side are packed full of experienced stars like Luka Modric who will be keen to give their team’s fans a memorable start to the campaign. However, the Croatian team have been riven with internal disputes and it seems that a newfound confidence and a younger squad could help to produce a shock result for the Nigerian team.

A game against Iceland should usually look like a fairly tempting prospect for a side like Nigeria. But ever since Iceland’s magical performances in the Euro 16 tournament, they have grown to be a side to be reckoned with. Despite this, Nigeria will be keen to take advantage of the fact that Iceland are now without their main striker, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, who will be out with injury issues. It’s going to be tough to predict who will win this game in Volgograd on 22 June, but if Nigeria can claim at least a point, then it could mark the start of something special for the Super Eagles.

It’s Nigeria’s clash against Argentina in Saint Petersburg on 26 June that’s giving punters plenty to talk about. This would usually be something of a whitewash for the Argentina team, but a recent friendly between the two sides proved that Nigeria could win this game. Nigeria took on Argentina in a friendly in Russia last year and they came from two goals down to win the match 4-2. As a result, it could be a good idea to head to 888Sport where you can get odds of 11/2 for Nigeria to win this game.

So whilst Nigeria’s chances to reach the knock-out rounds may not initially look too promising, if luck goes their way, then we could see the Super Eagles becoming one of the surprise teams of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Journey to the World Cup — Who did Nigeria beat to qualify?

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Nigeria coasted through the World Cup qualifiers with a game to spare

There were many punters who were speculating that Nigeria didn’t have what it takes to make it through the World Cup qualifiers. After all, the team had failed to qualify for the 2017 African Nations Cup finals, and for a while it seemed that the manager, Gernot Rohr, might be in danger of losing his job.

Thankfully, Nigeria managed to pull themselves together and emerged victorious from the World Cup qualifiers with a game to spare. On paper, the games against teams like Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria looked pretty tricky, but the Super Eagles somehow managed to make the CAF qualifiers look easy.

Their opening game against Zambia gave Nigeria a confidence-boosting 2-1 win, and this was followed by an exuberant 3-1 victory against Algeria. However it was Nigeria’s 4-0 demolition of Cameroon that really signalled how things have changed within Gernot Rohr’s team.

From here, Nigeria coasted through the remainder of their qualifiers, and Africa’s largest nation started to realise that the Nigerian footballing revival had truly begun.

Best players for Nigeria: Who should you be betting on?

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Can John Obi Mikel use his experience to help Nigeria in their World Cup ambitions?

Although the Nigerian squad is remarkably young, the side is packed with quality players who will be keen to show just how much Nigeria have improved in the past couple of years. Many people will be looking to experienced stars like John Obi Mikel who will be expected to give his younger team-mates a guiding hand as they take on some seriously formidable opposition.

But Arsenal fans will be especially keen to see how Alex Iwobi performs in Russia. Iwobi’s natural pace and flair has been frustrated in a troubled Arsenal team, but the young striker will be looking to repeat the two goals that he scored in the friendly against Argentina last year.

In fact, the Nigeria side is packed with players who will be keen to show the world what they’ve got. Whilst Kelechi Iheanacho has had a difficult time with Leicester, it’s worth mentioning that Interwetten currently have the star pegged at 27/20 to pick up the Golden Boot award. This is probably based on the fact that Iheanacho has managed to score eight goals in just 13 matches for Nigeria. And with the Chelsea star, Victor Moses, playing in a more advanced role, it shows that Nigeria aren’t short of goalscoring talent.

Who manages Nigeria?

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Gernot Rohr’s solid work ethic has transformed the Nigerian team

The German manager, Gernot Rohr, has been pivotal in a massive improvement in the Nigerian team ever since he took over a couple of years ago. Rohr’s vast experience both as a defender for Bayern Munich, and as a manager of the Gabon and Niger national sides has given him the tools necessary to turn the team of youngsters into a force to be reckoned with.

By building a balanced side with a sturdy defence, Rohr has given plenty of scope to allow strikers like Moses, Iheanacho and Iwobi to create lots of trouble up front. Although Rohr’s highly disciplined work ethic caused a few shocks when he first arrived in Nigeria, his structured approach to training and the game in general have helped the Nigerian team gain a whole new level of confidence.

Why bet on Nigeria?

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Can Nigeria’s young team prove the doubters wrong in the 2018 World Cup?

Nigeria may be three-times African champions, but they’ve had a harder time in World Cup tournaments. Whilst they managed to reach the final sixteen in the 1994, 1998 and 2014 World Cup competitions, it’s harder to see how they could repeat these impressive feats in Russia this summer.

It’s not surprising to see how bookmakers like William Hill have Nigeria at just 150/1 to win the tournament. But as they have Gernot Rohr’s team at 9/1 to reach the quarter finals, it shows that some punters still have plenty of faith in Nigeria.

So whilst it might be a bit of a long shot to see Nigeria in the World Cup final in Russia, it’s worth keeping tabs on the team as the youngsters in this side are clearly signalling that Nigeria are only just getting going.

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