Like an unending love affair, Nigeria have been drawn in the same group with Argentina for the fifth time out of six appearances at the Mundial by the Super Eagles.
In a colourful ceremony held at the Kremlin in Russia, the eight groups of four teams were expertly revealed to the accomplished audience at the seat of power in Vladimir Putin’s country.
Nigeria drawn in Group D will trade tackles with familiar foes Argentina, surprise packages, Iceland and 1998 Third Place Winners, Croatia. The Super Eagles will play their first match against the Croatians and it is one that we cannot wait to see.
Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia
Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco
Group C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia
Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria
Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama
Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal, Japan
Quick overview indicates that Russia, England and France got favorable draws. Portugal will play its neighbor Spain in Group B, and Argentina drew one of the tougher first-round groups, as it was paired with Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria. Mexico, the CONCACAF champion, will play Germany, Sweden and South Korea in Group F.
According to New York Times reporter Rory Smith, Nigeria’s World Cup group is the most interesting.
Teams: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria
“Probably the most delicately balanced, most interesting, and most competitive of all the groups. Argentina only just qualified, Croatia has an abundance of individual talent, Iceland a tremendous collective strength and Nigeria was, possibly, the toughest fourth seed to draw. Argentina will not be happy at all”.
The Super Eagles recently put the Albicelestes to the sword in a heartwarming friendly in Russia. That performance has roundly awakened a new belief in the team and the sentiment is that ‘we finally have the measure of Messi’s Argentina’.