The World Cup in Russia is nearly upon us and we won’t have long to wait before Nigeria’s Super Eagles take their bow. We’re going to take a how the overseas experts rate Nigeria’s chances of winning the World Cup in Russia this summer. We will also see just which teams are standing in the way of the Super Eagles this time around.
Pay any attention to the international odds-makers and it doesn’t take long to discover that the majority don’t give Nigeria’s Super Eagles much of a chance in the upcoming World Cup. In terms of winning the whole competition most expert pundits have ranked Nigeria at around 20th out of the 32 teams taking part, in the same bracket as teams like Egypt and Iceland. The truth is that most international experts have Nigeria as only third favourites to escape from Group D, with the smart money going on the Super Eagles to be eliminated at the group stage of the competition. For example, the Mirror newspaper in the UK list Nigeria at number 23 while the US CBS channel has the Eagles down at 22 out of 32. At least Australia’s ABC TV is more positive, putting Nigeria at number 17 on their list.
Nigeria will face three tough games if they want to make it out of that group, starting with possibly the most important of them all on Saturday the 16th of June. Croatia are the first opposition to be faced and this game could determine which side makes it out of the group and on to the next stage. With Argentina and Leo Messi strong favourites to top Group D it will be left to Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland to battle it out for the second qualifier position. Most experts are picking Croatia to take that second spot but if Nigeria get a result against them on Saturday then everything can change in a hurry. Beating Iceland and a draw or win versus Croatia could just be enough for the Super Eagles to soar into the knock-out rounds and then anything is up for grabs.
If Nigeria take second place in the group and qualify then it is likely they would come up against one of the tournament favourites: France. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves! The first game comes on Saturday and this will tell us a lot about Nigeria’s chances of making Russia 2018 a World Cup to remember.