Football

Ikpeba gives Eagles recipes to beat Croatia

Dapo Sotuminu, Live in Russia
Former African Footballer of the Year, Victor Ikpeba, has given the Super Eagles a number of recipes to beat their first opponent in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Croatia.
The former Super Eagles star player noted that, there is nothing wrong for Nigerians to be patriotic while speaking about the Eagles’ encounter against the highly rated European opponent, but there is important the Croatians are respected, as they come with a lot of top rated world stars full of experience.
He stressed: The task against Croatia may be a daunting one, but it very important that the Eagles win this encounter if they want to remain in contention in the World Cup.
Ikpeba advised that to beat Croatia, the Eagles must play as a team, attack with so much commitment to score goals and defend massively with all dedication. He noted that communication is very important and unpardonable errors must be minimised.
He added that: “The senior players must show their experience, while the Eagles captain, Mikel Obi, must be ready to carry the team along with his positive play and directives with everything he has, with occasional tendencies to move forward to get goals.
“Winning the opening game against Croatia is very important and must be pursued with all vigour, just as the Eagles team did at the USA 94 and France 98 World Cup finals, when I was a member of the team. At USA and France winning the first game was very crucial for us and it launched our achievements in both editions of the World Cup. When you win your first game, you are like 60 percent through to the next round. It serves as a psychology to get you going in other matches. That’s what helped us in 1994 and 1998 because nobody gave us the chance to do anything. In 1994, it was our first time and nobody felt we could do much until we surprised Bulgaria. I’m not sure we really outplayed the Bulgarians on the field tactically but our self-belief and desire made the difference. This was not different in 1998, in a year we didn’t record good results in our pre-World Cup friendly games. This made Nigerians think that we were going to be crushed by Spain in the opener, but the reverse was the case. This helped us as we continue to do well in the remaining games we played until we got to the second round where we were stopped by a long night fighting for match bonus. The good thing about this team is that, the issue about match bonuses had been settled before the kick off of the World Cup, they just have to go there to play good football.”

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