Pre World Cup friendly: England manager, Southgate stresses importance of Nigeria match

Pre World Cup friendly: England manager, Southgate stresses importance of Nigeria match

Manager of England national team, Gareth Southgate is already looking forward to the Three Lions’ friendly date with Nigeria’s Super Eagles this June.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and their English counterparts The FA on Wednesday confirmed that both teams will face at the Wembley Stadium in London June 2, 2018.

Both sides have only previously met twice at the senior level – in 1994 and 2002 – and June’s game will serve as the Super Eagles’ final preparatory game for the FIFA World Cup finals in Russia, with their first match against Croatia in Kaliningrad coming exactly a fortnight after.

Former Middlesbrough coach, Southgate will lead his men against Costa Rica at Elland Road in Leeds five days after the Nigerian friendly on Thursday 7 June and emphasised the importance of the games.

“We’re going into a World Cup where we will play African and Central American opposition so we get that with the games against Nigeria and Costa Rica,” said Southgate to the FA official website.

England will begin their World Cup campaign with a game against North Africans Tunisia before facing a CONCACAF representatives, Panama. Southgate is however looking beyond the group stage as his team heads to Russia.

“It’s not just about the games we’ve got in the group but hopefully beyond that as well. We want to expose the team to different styles and different experiences,” he added.

Nigeria will face Poland in Warsaw, the Polish capital on March 23 as they begin preparations for the Mundial while England already have dates with World Cup absentees Netherlands and Italy in March as part of their own buildup.

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