Nigeria beat Iceland 2-0 in World Cup clash
- Author: Stacy Allen Jun 27, 2018,
Jun 27, 2018, 3:28
The Super Eagles would have gone out with defeat but came good in Volgograd.
Musa said the coach's attacking intent with the substitution was clear, and gave the players confidence that "we don't have to go for last-minute to win the game".
The Super Eagles, meanwhile, know that a draw against Argentina will probably be sufficient, unless Iceland beat Croatia and better Nigeria's goal difference. "In three games out of four, we've had a red card", he added.
Nigeria's Francis Uzoho is the second youngest goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in a World Cup match (19 years, 237 days), behind only Li Chan-myong in North Korea's 1-0 win over Italy in July 1966 (19 years, 198 days). Despite there formidable World Cup record against European opposition, their was in fact only one previous meeting between these two sides - a friendly in 1981 - and Iceland won 3-0. The Super Eagles were short of ideas in attack and looked vulnerable to set-pieces and crosses into the box at the other end, and many expected Iceland to emerge victorious in both teams' second games in Russian Federation.
Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said things had been going to plan with the scores 0-0 at halftime but the heat of Volgograd, with temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius (86°F) throughout the game, sapped his team.
A point would have kept Iceland in the second qualifying spot ahead of their final group match against Croatia. Iceland has just a quarter of the population of Buenos Aires, but they didn't let that phase them as they crowded Argentina out of the game.
Nigeria must now avoid defeat in the final game against Argentina next Tuesday.
Iceland had its chances in the first half, dominating play but failing to convert its free kicks and long passes into a goal.
Against Iceland, manager Rohr restored order by playing Mikel in that typical deeper role we have become accustomed to seeing over the years, and he looked much more at home for it, as he controlled the midfield and provided assured stability in front of the rearguard. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can nearly subject Lionel Messi and co.to elimination if they win today. Eagles coach Gernot Rohr made three changes to the team that lost 2-0 to Croatia last Friday.
- This was only Nigeria's second win in their last 14 matches at the World Cup (D3 L9), having also beating Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.