10 things Nigeria learnt from the England game

Super Eagles By: Ambrose Udeme | 03/06/2018

1. Alex Iwobi sets new record: Iwobi's goal was the first conceded by England in 11hours of football, The Arsenal man's goal was also first Nigeria have ever scored in an international match against England, in what is the third meeting between the two nations. The Three Lions have recorded two wins and a draw in those meetings.

2. Defensive vulnerability: England further exposed the Super Eagles defensive vulnerability, especially at set-pieces; and you can bet, the tactically-savvy World Cup opponents will be watching lusciously. Gary Cahill somehow got between John Mikel Obi and William Ekong – two of the Eagles’ taller players – to head home the opening goal. Numerous other chances fell to England due to the Eagles’ inability to deal effectively with crosses into the danger areas.

3. Wembley voodoo lingers still: The Super Eagles again failed to banish their Wembley stadium demons at a second attempt. The Eagles have played twice at the turf and have lost both games. Nigeria on November 16, 1994, in a pre-world Cup game, lost 1-0 at Wembley.

4. Rohr needs to utilize the attacking threat of Iwobi, Moses, and Musa maximally: For a team that has consistently laboured to create from the midfield, there is dire need for pace and urgency in transition. Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses, and Ahmed Musa provided a bit of spark and this can undoubtedly be attributed to their guile, agility and pace. Junior Lokosa provided this in the previous game against DR Congo. This questions the coach’s fixation on and continued invitation of bland defensive-minded players like Mikel Agu and Uche Agbo ahead of flair and pacey players. With Moses Simon injured, Henry Onyekuru uninvited and Junior Lokosa dropped, the coach needs to devise a strategy to utilize the attacking threat of Iwobi, Moses, and Musa maximally, especially as Mikel looked to be struggling in a midfield that fails to supply the attack.

5. Rohr is tactically sound but must learn to get it right from start: Rohr is not as proactive as he is reactive, more so because he still does not know his best team. His tactics in the course of the game often turn out to be effective, but there is a feeling that perhaps he does not set-up well enough at the beginning because of his fixations on certain players and formation.

6. Bryan Idowu is predominantly a right-footed player leaving Elderson Echiejile as Nigeria's only natural left back. A friendly game it was, but it further exposed the lack of quality in certain departments of the Super Eagles. There is no distinctive feature attributable to Idowu.

7. Uzoho is No. 1 and Nigeria must live with his mistakes: The 19-year old goalkeeper is improving but is not yet that quality goalkeeper every team needs at the World Cup.

8. Iwobi must play centrally: After ringing changes at half-time, Rohr deployed Iwobi into a more central role and Arsenal man justified the coach's decision as Nigeria looked dangerous everytime he had the ball. Iwobi's clever pass sent Odion Ighalo through on goal and, after the former Watford striker had hit the post with a well-struck effort, the 22-year old Gunner was there to smash home the rebound for what was Nigeria's first-ever goal against England.

9. Simeon Nwankwo needed for aerial battles in both boxes: The Eagles struggled to cope aerially with Poland and Serbia and that set-back again came to fore against England. Nwankwo at 6ft5 will provide the Eagles with options defensively and offensively.

10. Eagles strived in a 3-5-2 formation in the second half