5 Things Learned From Nigeria Win Over Iceland

 Nigeria’s hopes of a place in the knockout stages of the 2018 World Cup was boosted Friday evening after a gutsy performance by the Super Eagles who defeated Iceland 2-0 in Volgograd, Russia.

Newslegend.com.ng’s IZUCHUKWU OKOSI takes a look at five things learned from this Group D contest. 

1. Uzoho Dealt With Crosses Creditably

Super Eagles goalkeeper Francis Uzoho was in goal for his seventh consecutive match for the Nigerian side and put in a decent shift.

The Deportivo La Coruna youngster is growing in confidence and it was heart warming to see him deal with crosses and shots that came his way.

The keeper did not try holding onto the ball when he ought to punch away. He is beginning to be vocal and has command of his area.

2. Eagles Ball Possession

The Eagles had more possession of the ball in the first half but Iceland were more dangerous when attacking with their few attempts.

The Nigerians’ long balls into Iceland’s were too long or too short to reach the targets. Nigeria had no shots on goal in the first half despite having more passes than their opponents.

3. Huge Improvement Second Half

There was far more better performance from Gernot Rohr’s men in the second stanza.

The players strung better passes and doubled up on the Icelanders when necessary.

The  Victor Moses assist for Ahned Musa’s first goal was measured and that is the kind of delivery expected from the Nigerians.

4. The Shots Came Flying In

Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo and star of the day, Musa, all unleashed long range shots  in the second half that almost turned out to be goals but for some deflections, or the crossbar, there could have been more goals for Nigeria.

These efforts were not there in the first game against Croatia which perhaps might have meant a better result for the Super Eagles.

Too many cooks spoil the broth, so that is not to say that every player must shoot when being selfless could help.

It just means that it should be an option when ‘passing it into the net’ becomes difficult.

5. Penalty Errors

In the first game against Croatia central defender William Troost-Ekong needlessly held Mario Mandzukic from the back inside Nigeria’s penalty box which resulted in a penalty, a gift, scored by the elegant midfield maestro Luka Modric.

On Friday, Benfica newbie, Tyrone Ebuehi clipped the ankle of an Iceland player who was not really threatening to score.

This is worrying as it seems there is always going to be such situations where defensive errors could cost the team.

Argentina are a team known for their theatrics and such careless piece of defending will be capitalized upon by their experienced and  smart players.

Thankfully Gylfi Sigurðsson did not convert his penalty otherwise that could have changed the outcome. It was a good lesson learned hopefully.

Izuchukwu Okosi