England 2 Vs Nigeria 1: 5 things we learnt as Super Eagles lose in friendly game


Mikel Obi, John Ogu, Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong and Alex Iwobi

Iwobi’s goal was not enough for Nigeria who lost 2-0 to England at Wembley on Saturday.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria were on Saturday, June 2 beaten 2-1 by England in an international friendly played at Wembley.

Gary Cahill opened the scoring for England in the 7th minute before Harry Kane doubled the lead in the 39th.

Alex Iwobi pulled one back for Nigeria but it wasn’t enough for the Super Eagles.

These are five things we learnt from that game.

1. Onazi is not World Cup material

Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr still has some hard decisions to make before cutting his squad to the final 23 ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

In midfield, Rohr has to drop one player and while John Ogu and Mikel Agu are the two candidates regularly mentioned to choose from, Ogenyi Onazi has shown that he should be the one on the chopping board.

Against England, Onazi was underwhelming, a description that has been consistent with the midfielder’s performances with the Super Eagles in recent years.

Ogu has consistently shown that he is one of the most talented midfielders in the team while Agu who has simply not been giving the chance, could not be any worse than Onazi.

So why is one of Ogu and Agu, the likely player to be dropped from the squad when they are seemingly better than Onazi?

Against England, Onazi confirmed he is not a World Cup material and should be dropped.

2. Joel Obi fails to convince


Joel Obi was handed a Super Eagles recall in the March 2018 friendly games against Poland and Serbia.

Since then, he has started every Super Eagles game as Rohr aims to properly assess him ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Obi, however, has so far failed to convince. Against England, he did not help his case.

Playing in a midfield two, supported by a third (Mikel John Obi) Obi seemed confused about his role. More disappointingly, he failed to help with the transition and ball retention in the middle.

If Rohr can’t get these qualities from Obi, then bringing him back to the national team has been pointless.

3. Three-man defence work again

With Nigeria down by two goals after a poor first half, Rohr made four substitutions, two in defence. Taking out Leon Balogun for Kenneth Omeruo and Onazi for Ogu.

Omeruo and Ogu joined William Troost-Ekong in a three-man defence, the second time Rohr will be using that set-up.

The first time he used it was in the 4-2 win over Argentina in a friendly in November 2017. For the second time, it worked against an England side that set up the same way.

Ebuehi and Idowu pushed on as wing-backs, Etebo and Mikel got closer in midfield while Iwobi attacked from the middle, putting pressure on England’s three-man defence.

4. Uzoho seals Super Eagles number one spot for 2018 World Cup


It has been pretty obvious he will be Nigeria’s first choice goalkeeper in Russia but Francis Uzoho sealed Super Eagles No. 1 spot ahead of the 2018 World Cup with his performance against England.

Uzoho was the only reason Nigeria were not more than 2-0 down at halftime. Although he should have done better with Kane’s strike for England’s second, the Deportivo La Corona goalkeeper made some good saves.

He covered his post well, dived smartly and commanded his area well.

5. Rohr shows tactical flexibility


After a subpar first half, Rohr quickly switched from the 4-2-3-1 formation in the first half to a 3-5-2-1 set-up in the second half which put the Super Eagles firmly in control.

Rohr showed that he can be tactical flexible when he is required to and this will sure be needed at the 2018 World Cup.