Nigeria's John Obi Mikel (right) and England's Fabian Delph battle for the ball
Monday Jun 11, 2018. 12:30
The Nigerian national team has learnt its lesson as they prepare to play their opening 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia.
According to the the team’s co-ordinator Patrick Pascal, he said the friendly matches prior to the tournament have helped the team to measure their preparations ahead of the global showpiece.
Pascal said the West Africans have learnt valuable lessons from their back-to-back losses in pre-World Cup friendly matches against England and Czech Republic.
Speaking to CompleteSportsNigeria, the co-ordinator insists the players are in high spirits as they prepare for Monday’s trip to their base camp in Yessentuki, Russia.
“The essence of the training camp and friendly games are to perfect strategies for the World Cup and if they don’t lose games or make mistakes like these, we may falsely think that they are unbeatable,” said the former Nigerian international.
“Now that we have seen the mistakes, the coaching crew is working round the clock to correct them and I can assure you that those defeats will become blessings in disguise when the competition starts.
“It is better to lose now when you have the chance to correct them than to win all our friendly games and lose when we get to the World Cup.”
Coach Gernot Rohr’s troops lost 2-1 to England at Wembley on June 2 and 1-0 to the Czech Republic four days later, sparking concerns from Super Eagles fans about the team’s chances at the World Cup.
However, Pascal added that the mood is high in the camp and said the team will give a good account of themselves when the chips are down.
“The players spirits are high even though they also felt bad to lose those games but the coaches have continued to work with them and I can assure Nigerians that the team will give a good account when the chips are down,” he added.
“We have a young team that’s not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. The fans will see how much the team has learnt by Saturday (when we play Croatia in the opening game).”
Nigeria are grouped in group D with Croatia, debutants Iceland and two-time winners Argentina.