Nigeria is all about offense with several world-class players up front, but do they have the defense to do well in the World Cup?
Nigeria is not in an easy group with soccer giant Argentina, FIFA’s 12th ranked team Greece, and the best team from Asia in South Korea.
has Greece at +12500 to win the World Cup and at +500 to win Group B.
Nigeria is lucky, as even though they are in a tough group they only will face one team that has a strong defense and that is Greece. The Nigerians will be pushing ahead on the attack, but they have to worry about the counter-attack at all times.
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Nigeria has played in three World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002), but did not qualify for the last one in Germany.
Nigeria did not look impressive in World Cup qualifying and only made it to South Africa by beating Kenya 3-2 in Nairobi in their last match and luckily Mozambique beat Tunisia, who were chasing Nigeria.
Nigerian soccer is known for their attacking style and that will not change in this World Cup. Up front they have Osaze Odemwingie of Locomotiv Moscow and Obafemi Martins of Wolfsburg, to name just two, so offense should not be their problem. They have several world-class strikers on the squad, which head coach Lars Lagerback has to choose from.
The defense, especially the central defense, is the glaring weakness for Nigeria. Their back line was really torched in cup qualifying and they will have to right the shit before June or they may be in trouble. They need to find a cohesive defense with the likes of Everton's Joseph Yobo and Danny Shittu, Dele Adeleye and Obinna Nwaneri. The Nigerians have so much talent up front that they tend to rely too much on individual efforts and do not play great team soccer. This is especially the case, as their midfielders are mediocre at best.
Head coach Lars Lagerback was a surprise pick as the leader of the Nigerian squad, but his low-key demeanor may be just what the African squad needs.
Nigeria’s first group match against Argentina is important, as if they win they will take quick control of the group, but if they lose they will likely have to beat both South Korea and Greece to make it out of Group B.
Nigeria World Cup Schedule
6/12/2010 Argentina vs. Nigeria
6/17/2010 Greece vs. Nigeria
6/22/2010 Nigeria vs. South Korea