Nigeria Need Poland Friendly to Prepare for Croatia – Rohr
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr says the friendly match against Poland is to help the Super Eagles prepare for their opening Group D match against Croatia at the Russia 2018 World Cup.
The match at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 16 will be the first time that Croatia will take on the Eagles at the international level.
Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic, indicated last week he was having sleepless nights worrying about the tactical approach to enable them get something from their clash against the Eagles despite his side being 33 places ahead of Nigeria on the Fifa ranking.
And Rohr, whose side also goes up against Iceland and two-time World champions Argentina in the group, has admitted that the Eagles face a tough challenge in their opening encounter, Punch writes.
“The first game is always the most difficult,” the 64-year-old coach said.
“It’s the first game and if we start well we can have a chance to go through. Croatia will be the most important game because they have technical quality and play very good football.”
The German-born tactician said he accepted the Poland friendly because of the challenge they pose and their similarity with Croatia.
“This is the most important match and we hope to prepare for it – against opponents similar to Croatia. So we will play Poland at home on March 23. We are looking for a second opponent in Europe for another FIFA date of the spring.”
The former Gabon and Burkina Faso coach also says he expects a tough match against debutants Iceland in Volgograd on June 22.
“Iceland have worked hard for 10 or 12 years with extraordinary structures to play football all year long despite the harsh weather conditions,” Rohr said.
“Domes of football, where you can play at any time have been installed, with a dozen per region. Work is done from an early age. They are a team that know how to play football and who are very physical.
“The match (Iceland versus Nigeria) in Volgograd will be very a difficult game.
“(Croatia) supporters will come in large numbers to cheer on their team. It will be an unprecedented match in the history of the World Cup, which adds spice. In this group, it is amusing to see that the four teams know each other very well. Croatia know Iceland, who were in their qualifying group, well and Nigeria know Argentina very well, since this is the fifth time the two nations will face each other in the finals.”
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