epa06814398 Mario Mandzukic of Croatia (R), Luka Modric of Croatia (L) and Oghenekaro Etebo of Nigeria in action during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group D preliminary round soccer match between Croatia and Nigeria in Kaliningrad, Russia, 16 June 2018.
Monday Jun 18, 2018. 12:31
Nigerian midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo says he is unfazed by the unfortunate own goal he scored in the Super Eagles’ loss to Croatia, and is focused on their next game against Iceland.
Etebo, who recently agreed a transfer to EFL Championship side Stoke City, unwittingly deflected the ball into his net to help Croatia record a 2-0 win over Nigeria in the teams’ opening 2018 World Cup match on Saturday night. Luka Modric scored the other goal from the penalty spot.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m really short of words [in regards to the own goal] but it is a game of football,” said Etebo.
“So the best thing to do is to hold our heads up and work towards the next game. This is the way it usually goes with football.
“We have lost this one [against Croatia] and the best way out is to forget about the painful experience and move on strongly.”
The defeat in Kaliningrad once again exposed Nigeria’s weakness in defending set pieces and Etebo was at a loss to explain why they cannot address the issue.
“Apart from this game and some of the friendlies many of the goals we have conceded were from set pieces and now I believe we really need to take it so importantly,” explained the 22-year-old.
“This is very important for us; this is important for the team and that is what we need now starting with the next game,” he added.
Nigeria will take on Iceland at the Volgograd Arena for their second Group D game, set for Friday, June 22.