JOHANNESBURG - What Senegal can do, surely Nigeria can do even better? This is likely to be the overriding feeling and motivating factor within the Super Eagles’ camp as they approach Friday afternoon’s Group D clash against Iceland in Volgograd.
With the Lions of Teranga having become Africa’s first team to win at Russia 2018, “mighty” Nigeria should be inspired to make up for their opening match defeat by Croatia. In Iceland, John Obi Mikel and Co meet a side that will have their tails up following a fantastic World Cup debut draw against Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
But Nigeria have an immensely talented squad teeming with experience, too, and the likes of Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi will be keen to redeem themselves and live up to their billing as Africa’s best at the tournament.
Victory over the tiny Nordic nation will ensure there is all to play for in their final match against Argentina. A loss to the debutants, on the other hand, will see them join Egypt and Morocco in shaming the continent by exiting the World Cup before their third match. That would be an embarrassment proud Nigeria will be out to avoid at all costs.
Also going into Friday's matches under some pressure are Brazil, who cannot afford to drop any more points when they play Costa Rica in St Petersburg in Group E. The good news for the Selecao is that Neymar jr is fully fit after having to leave a training session early in the week due to an injury.
Much is expected of the PSG man, and anything less than a splendid showing today would make a mockery of his standing as a global superstar. Group E leaders Serbia will look to seal their Round of 16 spot when they square up with Switzerland in Kalingrad in the late evening match.