By Izuchukwu Okosi


Former Super Eagles left back Ifeanyi Udeze has expressed belief in Nigeria’s chances of progressing to the Round of 16 of the 2018 World Cup despite the 2-0 defeat to Croatia on Saturday.

The three time African champions will face Iceland on Friday in a game they must win and Udeze who was in Nigeria’s team to the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan also has a starting eleven in his mind he feels can get the job done.

Iceland shocked many football faithful by holding Argentina to a 1-1 draw in the first Group D game.

“About our chances of qualifying to the knock out stages, why not. Its about determination and support from Nigerian fans,” Udeze told Brila FM from Russia on Tuesday morning.

“We need to forget about the defeat to Croatia. The other teams in the group don’t have two heads.

“My line up for this match will be: Ezenwa; Ebuehi, Idowu, Balogun, Ekong; Ndidi, Ogu, Mikel; Etebo (from the left side of attack, cutting in because of his drive), Moses and Ighalo.”

“Ighalo has not had much supplies but I know what he can do so I will still go with him. Ogu will start for me because he can mark. I will bring Alex Iwobi from the bench because he gives his best coming off the substitutes bench.”

On whether the present Eagles coached by Gernot Rohr is for the future and not for the 2018 World Cup, the former West Bromwich Albion defender said:

“I don’t know about others but I don’t give up until the referee’ s final whistle. Even if this team is for the future, they need to move forward a bit. If they play as team, they can do it.

“Croatia was too physical against us, and I was worried that our players might be too heavy. You have to commit dome fouls, make the opposition uneasy if you can’t match their skills,” the former international stressed.

The Eagles resumed their training on Monday ahead of the game on Friday which will kick off 16.00 hours (4pm Nigerian time).