Gernot Rohr says nine players named in the starting lineup were nervous playing in their first World Cup match against Croatia last weekend and this contributed to their loss to the Balkans.

The Super Eagles stars that started a World Cup game for the first time in their careers are : Francis Uzoho, Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Abdullahi Shehu, Brian Idowu, Oghenekaro Etebo, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo.

”9 out of the 11 players in the starting line-up against Croatia played their first World Cup match,” Rohr told reporters at Wednesday afternoon’s press conference.

”Of course, nerves played a role there. But we worked on our set-pieces – both the offensive and the defensive ones. We know that we need to improve them.”

The German added :  ”Our group is a tough one – the best in this World Cup, in my opinion. We should always keep that in mind. Croatia has one of the best midfields in the world.

”If you consider that, our organization wasn’t so bad. Croatia’s first goal was an own goal. Their first shot on target was in the 71st minute and it was a penalty. Therefore, we need to stay calm and focus on the next game.”

The Super Eagles held their final training session on Wednesday afternoon in Essentuki before they fly to Volgograd tomorrow morning for the match with Iceland.

Igho Kingsley