John Obi Mikel believes winning the African Nations Cup last February has invigourated the Super Eagles’ desire to excel on the World stage.
Nigeria starts their World Cup campaign against Iran on Monday and the Chelsea FC midfielder insists the three-time African champions are not in Brazil to “make up the numbers”.
“This is my first World Cup,” Mikel told Fifa.com after a training session in Campinas. “I want to make sure we achieve something coming here. We don’t just want to come and make up the numbers, we want to do well.
“I have to make sure I lead by example. We are all driving in the same direction. We all know what we want and hopefully we will have a good tournament.”
Eagles are yet to record three points in a World Cup match since the 1-0 win over Bulgaria in France 98.
However, Mikel says Nigeria are more than fired up to put up a good performance in Brazil.
“We know we’re the African champions and people expect us to do well, to represent the African continent. That’s a bit more extra pressure but it’s pressure that we love. We love to be African champions,” he added.
“We’re doing well, we’re doing everything we can. We’re preparing well. Today the result in Spain against the Netherlands (5-1 victory for the Dutch) shows anything is possible so we have to make sure we approach games seriously and play well.”