WORLD CUP WATCH: Nigeria’s Leon Balogun not scared by Group D opponents

WORLD CUP WATCH: Nigeria’s Leon Balogun not scared by Group D opponents
Leon Balogun

by Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Jun 05, 2018. 09:30

Nigeria defender Leon Balogun says the Super Eagles are not scared by their Group D opponents and will give a strong showing at the 2018 World Cup.

Balogun played 45 minutes of Nigeria’s last warm-up friendly, a 2-1 loss to England in London this past weekend.

He was then named in the final 23-man selection by manager Gernot Rohr, and will be hopeful of playing in all three of his team’s group stage matches – and hopefully more should they qualify for the knockout stages.

The Super Eagles will face Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in Group D. It’s arguably the toughest pool in the first round of the tournament, but Balogun isn’t fazed.

“It’s a tough group and we know we have to be ready and well-prepared,” said the centre-back, who recently moved from FSV Mainz to Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion.

“We gave a better performance and won the second half and that’s the way you have to look at it from our point of view - we’re taking the positives,” he added in regards to the game against England.

“But we have to learn from our mistakes because the tournament isn’t far away now.”

The 29-year-old added, “I’m delighted to be in the Premier League, but it’s been a busy time for me recently with that and the international side.

“When the World Cup has calmed down, I can start to organise myself and then I will have the realisation that I’m about to play in one of the best leagues in the world, which has always been one of my biggest dreams.

“They [Brighton] did amazingly well last season – I’m looking forward to joining them and playing for the manager [Chris Hughton] – he gave me a good feeling and I’m looking forward to working with him.

“He seems like a true gentleman and I’ve only heard good things about him.”

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