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Saturday 23 August 2014

World Cup team preview: Nigeria

Published 03/06/2014 | 15:14

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Nigeria's Uche Nwofor (3rd R) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Scotland during their international friendly soccer match at Craven Cottage in London May 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Nigeria's Uche Nwofor (3rd R) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Scotland during their international friendly soccer match at Craven Cottage

Just NINE days until the World Cup begins and today we're focusing on the prospects for Nigeria.

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The Eagles impressed in their opening forays in the competition in 1994 and 1998, qualifying for the second round on both occasions but things have not gone as smoothly since.

The have took just two points in their last eight games at the finals and will need to drastically improve on that record.

Their manager Stephen Keshi has earned a fearsome reputation and is not afraid of dropping well-known stars for domestic players.

This is a group the Nigerians can qualify from to emulate their very good side of the 90s.

Group F: Iran, Bosnia and Herzegivna and Argentina

Tournament Odds: 250/1

How they got here

Cameroon were fortunate to get a favourable draw in qualifying. Their group comprised of Malawi, Kenya and Namibia and they were unbeaten in it.

Once in the two-legged play-off, the Eagles drew the lowest-ranked team in Ethiopia and despite the improvement of the east Africans, Nigeria were seldom threatened in winning away 2-1 and at home 2-0 to qualify.

Key Player

John Obi Mikel hasn't always been the most reliable player for his national side but in recent times the holding midfielder has become a vital member of the Nigerian side.

His Chelsea team mate Victor Moses will be looking to impress possible suitors after he endured a frustrating season on-loan at Liverpool.

Ahmed Musa and Emmanuel Emenike are key parts of a deep attack. The controversial Peter Odemwinge is also capable of creating chances.

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