World Cup Team Profile - Nigeria
Coach: Stephen Keshi
Captain: Vincent Enyeama (Maccabi Tel-Aviv)
Full Nigeria Roster
The Road to Rio: The Super Eagles cruised through the CAF group stage by virtue of being just about the only team in their group interested in picking up three points. Their three wins was equal to the combined total of their entire group opposition as Malawi, Kenya and Namibia each won just a single match apiece.
A balanced attack saw not a single player score more than once over the group stage, with seven separate Nigerians finding the back of the net.
Emmanuel Emenike would run with it in the playoff against Ethiopia with a brace on the road in the 2-1 opening leg victory. They would hold firm at home with a 2-0 return leg, sending the team to its fifth final in six years.
Last World Cup appearance: South Africa 2010 (Group Stage)
First World Cup appearance: United States 1994 (Round of 16)
Previous World Cup appearances: 4
Best World Cup finish: Round of 16 (United States 1994, France 1998)
Nigeria finished at the bottom of their Group in South Africa despite having a team that looked as though it could slip into the final 16 of the tournament and perhaps even spring a knockout stage upset.
After capturing last year’s African Cup of Nations, they look to once again be a threat to advance into the second round and cause problems in Brazil.
Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi will be one of their keys on offence and though he hasn’t made the biggest impact in the Premier League, he has in the past and continues to be one of the driving forces for his national team and they will count on his counter attacking pace.
Head coach Stephen Keshi will look to set his team up defensively though it will be in transition and in the offensive third of the field that this team will either succeed for fail as they attempt to make their mark on this tournament.
Stoke City’s Peter Odemwingie is an important man in the middle of the park for Nigeria and he has had problems in the past with his national side, including being left out of the African Cup-winning squad, but if he is at the top of his game this could be a marquee tournament for his skill set.
With Argentina as the group favourites, the key match for Nigeria will be their second match of the tournament that will see them face Bosnia and Herzegovina. The winner of that game will have a leg up in the race for second in the Group.