Nigeria showed throughout the qualification process for the World Cup that they are one of the strongest and most consistent teams in Africa. The Super Eagles won the African Cup of Nations in 2013 but failed to qualify for the subsequent editions of the tournament in 2015 and 2017. Nevertheless, Nigeria have now moved ahead of their rivals with an effective attacking unit that has tormented Algeria and Cameroon, among others.
Since making their World Cup bow in 1994, Nigeria have qualified for every tournament apart from Germany 2006. They have not gone beyond the last-16, and it was at that stage that they lost 2-0 to France in Brazil.
German coach Gernot Rohr has put together a young group of players who offer certain guarantees. The majority of the squad have experience of European football, and possess a combination of physicality and technical skill that allows them either dominate games or play on the counter-attack.
The average age of Nigeria’s squad is among the lowest in the tournament. The likes of Wilfred Ndidi and Moses Simon are already very important, while the doors have opened to talented youngsters from the Premier League, like Alex Iwobi and Keleachi Iheanacho. Many years ago the leader in the dressing room, John Obi Mikel,vtrod a similar path.
|Preferred system: 4-2-3-1
The 64-year-old German spent the majority of his career in France before moving to Africa in 2008 to take charge of Tunisian club Etoile Sahel, one of the biggest club sides on the continent. Yet he could only guide them to third in the Tunisian league and he was promptly sacked.
Rohr returned to familiar ground and went back in to management at Nantes, but he soon returned to Africa to take over as the coach of Gabon. He progressed to Niger and Burkina Faso before moving on to Nigeria in August 2016. It is with the Super Eagles that he has achieved the best results and the World Cup will represent the peak of a long career.
|Height: 178 cm
|Weight: 76 kg
Victor Moses broke on to the scene at a young age. He shone with Wigan in the 2011-12 Premier League season, scoring six goals. Three years earlier, as a teenager, he had already played 27 games in the Championship for Crystal Palace.
After taking the leap to Chelsea he needed several seasons to establish himself as a regular starter. Thanks to Antonio Conte, Moses was an important part of the team that won the 2016-17 league title. He has continued in fine form at wing-back this season, although injury caused him to lose momentum at a crucial time, both in the Champions League and domestically.