Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr sounded optimistic about his side’s prospects in their final FIFA World Cup Group D match against Argentina, after they defeated Iceland 2-0 in Volgograd on Friday to move up to second place in the group.
Ahmed Musa netted twice to give the Super Eagles a deserved victory. Speaking after the game, and quoted by Reuters, Rohr said of the clash with Argentina: “We know we can do it, our confidence is coming back.”
A win over the struggling South American giants would be sufficient to secure a place in the last 16 for Nigeria.
The Super Eagles have lost all four of their previous World Cup clashes with Argentina, but will no doubt be encouraged by La Albiceleste’s underwhelming form in Russia, especially their 3-0 thrashing by Croatia.
The African side also defeated Argentina 4-2 in a friendly in November – though, as Rohr pointed out, a certain star player was missing from that encounter: “We played them in a friendly but there was no Messi then.”
Rohr argued that a tactical change after the Croatia match was a major factor in his side’s win over Iceland. Quoted by Nigerian website The Eagle Online, the German said: “We changed our formation to 3-5-2 and it was good for us. It was a different style in defence.”
Rohr also singled out John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses for special praise, as they needed to adjust to the new system.
“We needed them to play in different roles today,” said Rohr, adding: “We needed to convince them to make the sacrifice for their country, and they accepted. They played so well in these roles and the team and their country benefited.”
Nigeria will take on Argentina on Tuesday in St Petersburg – at the same time as Iceland play Croatia, who have already qualified for the round of 16.