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Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 13, 2008

Manager: Lars Lagerback
Captain: Nwankwo Kanu
FIFA Ranking: 20
Group B

Background: 2010 will be Nigeria's fourth World Cup since making their debut in 1994. They have twice reached the second round, in 1994 and 1998, being only seconds away from reaching the quarter-final before Italy clawed a goal back before going on to win 2-1 in 1994. In 2002, Nigeria and ex-Shrimper Efe Sodje exited at the group stage having been placed in the dreaded 'Group of Death', alongside England, Sweden and Argentina.

Qualification: Narrowly won qualification through to the finals on a very dramatic final day of qualifiers, defeating Kenya 3-2 as rivals Tunisia were themselves defeated 1-0 by Mozambique. Tunisia had been top of the qualification table throughout the campaign and could only secure a 0-0 draw against Nigeria, or the Eagles, in Tunis and a 2-2 draw in Abuja, leaving it down to the final day to decide who would be travelling South to South Africa and Nigeria proved victors.

The Team
Strengths: Nigeria certainly have no lack of strikers, with six fantastic strikers all pushing for a place in the starting line up, including Yakubu, Obafemi Martins and Ikechukwe Uche, and that's without national captain and Portsmouth striker Nwankwo Kanu.
Weaknesses: Despite the overload of strikers, Nigeria have somewhat the opposite situation at centre-back. Everton's Joeseph Yobo has had three partners during qualifiers, including Bolton's Danny ****tu, but Lars Lagerback is yet to find the ideal partnership at the back.
The Manager: Lars Lagerback was a surprise appointment for Nigeria, after Shuaibo Amudo shockingly resigned for the third time. Lagerback had resigned from his role at Sweden shortly before after failing to gain qualification for a major tournament for the first time since he was hired in 2000. A calm, relaxing figure with tactical experience, the Swede may give Nigeria the European style they need to succeed on the World Cup stage.

Star Men: Obafemi Martins (Wolfsburg)
The ex-Newcastle striker scored two vital goals in the final qualifier against Kenya and when fit is one of the best strikers around. He uses his pace and good touch to beat defenders and is an excellent finisher, his only problem will be regaining and staying fit in order to produce his best form for the Eagles.
Ikechukwu Uche (Real Zaragoza)
'IK' is arguably Nigeria's best striker, scoring four in qualification before picking up a knee injury for Zaragoza which saw him miss the remaining qualifiers. Good fitness means he never stops running and chases every ball down, and similar to Martins, is a great finisher.

manor15's Prediction
Group Stages. Lucky to qualify and have the strikers to do the business but don't have enough depth in the squad, particularly in defence and midfield, meaning that the strikers will have to work hard to create chances, which may prove to be in vain if a suitable centre-back cannot be found and the Nigerians continue to leak goals to poor sides at the back.