Coach Gernot Rohr leads Eagles during a training session at Volgograd Arena on the eve of their Russia 2018 World Cup Group D match against Iceland…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP
The number of Nigerian fans has increased here in Russia since the Super Eagles first group match against Croatia, which they lost 0-2 last Saturday.But there is tension in the air, particularly among the fans, who feel the Super Eagles have not demonstrated the quality of a team that can reach the knockout stage in the World Cup.
While some of the fans have resorted to prayers and fasting, others have sent messages to Coach Gernot Rohr and his army to do everything possible to conquer Iceland.Today’s battle in Volgograd, a town formerly known as Stalingrad, is in the south of Moscow with a population of one million people. The unforgettable ‘Battle of Stalingrad’ was a turning point during the Second World War, with about two million persons said to have been killed and German expansionist mission decisively aborted.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, former secretary of Delta FA, Friday Onothoja, said it would amount to effort in futility if the Eagles fail to beat Iceland in today’s encounter.“It is going to be a great battle between the two teams, but as a Nigerian, I want Super Eagles to carry the day because we are in a very tight corner. A victory today will change a lot of this and I am pleading with the players to give us this day,” adding that he would be grateful if the Eagles could turn things around against Iceland.
Another fan, Festus Agboro says Nigerians would be happy to get a victory against Iceland today. “It will be good for the team and the fans because we don’t want to follow the path of Egypt and Morocco yet. The Eagles should put everything into this game.”The Super Eagles flew from their Essentuki base yesterday morning for Volgograd.Meanwhile, Coach Gernot Rohr has assured that his side will fly higher against the Scandinavians, who were Euro 2016 quarter finalist.
“We have watched the game against Croatia again to see our mistakes so that we can correct them. It will be a tough game. We have to be at our best and be more professional with our defending, especially from set piece.“We have to be fully focused and not lose concentration all through the game. I believe with hard work we can get a good result. In truth, there is no need to add to the pressure we have now. More pressure on the team will not necessarily translate to better results,” Rohr stated.