Coach Gernot Rohr has finally revealed the real season Super Eagles players did not perform well in their first game at the Russia 2018 World against Croatia.
But addressing his Wednesday press conference ahead of Friday’s second match against Iceland, the former Bayern Munich defender admitted that nine players named in the starting lineup were nervous.
He said the players were nervous playing in their first World Cup match against Croatia.
The Super Eagles stars that started a World Cup game for the first time in their careers are: Francis Uzoho, Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Abdullahi Shehu, Brian Idowu, Oghenekaro Etebo, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo.
Gernot Rohr said, ”9 out of the 11 players in the starting line-up against Croatia played their first World Cup match.
”Of course, nerves played a role there. But we worked on our set-pieces – both the offensive and the defensive ones. We know that we need to improve them.
”Our group is a tough one – the best in this World Cup, in my opinion. We should always keep that in mind. Croatia has one of the best midfield in the world.
”If you consider that, our organization wasn’t so bad. Croatia’s first goal was an own goal. Their first shot on target was in the 71st minute and it was a penalty. Therefore, we need to stay calm and focus on the next game.”