Nigeria midfielder Ogenyi Onazi has moved to prove he is the better of two Lazio players expected to take to the pitch on Saturday, when the African champions take on Bosnia-Hercegovina at the Arena Pantanal.
The top drawer between both Group F foes- their first ever meeting- has been labeled a must win by both sides and speaking on arrival in Cuiaba on Thursday, the 21-year-old Lazio playmaker said he’s prepared to justify to club team-mate Senad Lulic he’s a better player on the biggest stage in world football.
“One of the players of the Bosnian side is my team-mate at Lazio, he plays from the left side of the attack and I want to prove to him that I am a great player at the world stage,” Onazi said.
Meanwhile, Lulic reckons the ‘Golden Lilies’ enjoyed some much-needed rest, after their opening 2-1 loss to Argentina ahead of the arduous fight for second place qualification.
The 28-year-old winger, who provided the pass which Vedad Ibisevic slotted home to halve group favourites Argentina’s lead at the Maracana Stadium last Sunday, adds they are aware of the threat posed by Nigeria and Iran to their hopes of going beyond the group stage in Brazil.
“We are expecting a very hard match against Nigeria. But as always we are going into the match giving 100 per cent and we are expecting a very good performance,” Lulic said.
“A day off is always good for a player and we enjoyed ourselves yesterday but we know we have two difficult matches against Nigeria and Iran and they are our main opponents for second in the group.”
The Super Eagles arrived in Cuiaba (exactly 1:10pm local time), venue of their second group stage match against the European debutantes on Thursday afternoon.
The team were immediately checked into their Hits Pantanal Hotel, which is less than 10 minutes drive from the airport.
They had their first training session in Cuiaba on Thursday evening before taking a rest ahead of Friday’s session.