Nigeria’s best and worst player at the 2018 World Cup

Nigeria’s best and worst player at the 2018 World Cup
Marcos Rojo of Argentina (L) and Onyinye Wilfred Ndidi of Nigeria in action during the FIFA World Cup

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Jul 03, 2018. 12:00

AfricanFootball looks back at Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup campaign and picks their best and worst players.

Best player – Wilfred Ndidi

While Ahmed Musa scored two goals and helped secure Nigeria’s only win at the tournament, their most consistently excellent performer was midfielder Wilfred Nidid. His energy, awareness and athleticism in the middle of the park was simply unmatched by any of his teammates. It’s long been known Leicester City had a fine player on their hands, but they’ll have to be ready for some big-money offers following the 21-year-old’s showing at Russia 2018.

Honourable mentions:

Oghenekaro Etebo – He may have scored an unfortunate own goal against Croatia, but otherwise he provided drive and energy through midfield.

Ahmed Musa – Two superbly taken goals against Iceland made Musa the all-time leading scorer at the World Cup for Nigeria, adding to the two he scored in 2014.

Kenneth Omeruo – His return to the backline helped Nigeria settle into a more defensively sound formation and he even provided the assist for Musa’s second goal against Iceland.

Worst player – Victor Moses

Perhaps ‘worst player’ is too harsh a label - ‘most disappointing’ would be more apt for Victor Moses at the 2018 World Cup. While the ice-cool conversion of a penalty against Argentina was a highlight, he otherwise struggled to impose himself on games and too often failed to deliver the kind of quality in the final third Super Eagles fans have become accustomed to.

Others who failed to impress:

Alex Iwobi – The Arsenal man was a victim of being deployed in a wide midfield position against Croatia which ill suited his abilities, and he only made two late substitute appearances in the next two games.

William Troost-Ekong – Guilty of a poor showing against Croatia, where he gave away the penalty for wrestling Mario Mandzukic to the ground, and was subsequently outshone by both Leon Balogun and Kenneth Omeruo.

Odion Ighalo - Anonymous against Croatia and guilty of missing a couple of glaring chances against Argentina which could have changed the entire complexion of that match.

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