Coach Stephen Keshi disproves claims that weather conditions in Brasilia, when Nigeria and France get their second round match underway, will favour the Africans and hinder the former champions.
Temperature in the Brazil capital city could rise as high as 30C while the Super Eagles and coach Didier Deschamp’s side battle to keep their World Cup hopes alive at the Estadio Nacional.
“Don’t have it in mind because we are from Africa everywhere is hot,” Keshi said in his pre-game conference.
“Most of our players are from Europe, so we have the same problem. In Cuiaba the temperature was terrible and we had a problem with it but managed to finish. If it’s going to be bad for France, it’s going to be bad for Nigeria.”
Chelsea FC midfielder John Obi Mikel was also of the opinion that “both sides will be affected by the weather”, but adds the African champions will stop at nothing to ensure victory.
Coach Didier Deschamp hopes his squad rotation policy favours ‘Les Bleus’ against a physical Nigeria team today. The former midfielder, who played a vital role in the side that lifted the title at the Stade des France 16 years ago chopped off six regular starters in their final group draw with Ecuador.
Deschamp reckons his team could not allow any margin of error against the Eagles who boast of sharp attackers like Ahmed Musa and co.
“They (Nigeria) will undoubtedly cause us problems on a physical level and they have forwards who can make the difference at any moment,” he noted.
The last and only time both nations met at senior international level, Nigeria emerged tops courtesy of a Joseph Akpala strike in St. Etienne.
France- inspired by the in-form Karim Benzema- scored eight goals to top Group E.
Nigeria emerged Group F runners-up, after a goalless draw against Iran, followed with a 1-0 win over Bosnia-Hercegovina and a narrow loss to eventual group winners Argentina.
Kick-off time is 5:00pm (Nigerian time)