CLASSIC PREVIEW: England vs Nigeria

CLASSIC PREVIEW: England vs Nigeria
Nigeria’s head coach Gernot Rohr described Saturday’s friendly against England as “a World Cup match” as both teams gear up for a first meeting in sixteen years.

Saturday’s game is both countries’ penultimate tune-up game before they travel to join thirty other nations at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Nigeria are in a group that have two UEFA teams; Croatia and Iceland, while England will face African side Tunisia in their opening Group G game so, both sides have a lot to get from their respective oppositions.

THE MATCH

The last time Nigeria faced England in a friendly was in 1994 when the Super Eagles; just back from a memorable World Cup appearance lost 0-1 to the Three Lions at the Old Wembley, David Platt’s header still as fresh in memory as a daisy. Both sides also played out a goalless draw in their last meeting at the FIFA World Cup in Japan in 2002.

Super Eagles training at Wembley

England have not featured in any game since the draw against Italy in March and will be looking to have a good glimpse of who starts in Russia with the Nigeria game.

England manager Gareth Southgate also confirmed on Friday that Manchester United star Jesse Lingard will start but his teammate at club level Phil Jones has been excused from the tie against the former African Champions with his partner due to give birth.
Liverpool stars Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson will not take part in the game after having featured for Liverpool in the Champions League final just last weekend.

Nigeria’s coach, Rohr will have the full complement of his players for the first time in months for the game. The German confirmed that Chelsea star Victor Moses will start for his side, three days after joining the rest of the squad in London but doubts surround the participation of Leicester’s Wilfried Ndidi.

Kick-off: 5:15pm (UK and Nigerian time)

Referee: Marco Guida (Italy)

Guida will be assisted by fellow Italians, Riccardo Di Fiore and Alessandro Giallatini (assistant referees), Davide Massa (fourth official), Michael Fabbri (Video Assistant Referee) and Giulio Dobosz (Assistant Video Assistant Referee).

WHAT THEY SAID:

England coach, Gareth Southgate:

“I’ve told the players what we’re looking for in these two matches (against Nigeria and Costa Rica) and I haven’t told them the team yet.”

“It’s important you get to know players and what makes them tick.

“It’s really important for me to understand their motivation and thoughts.”

Nigeria’s Gernot Rohr will field his best available team on Saturday.

“This is the test. (In the) last match (against Congo), we didn’t play our best team. Tomorrow, we will play our best team and we will try to play those who have the chance to start against Croatia.

“It is the most important game for us, more important than the one against Czech Republic next week in Austria in a small stadium. This is a World Cup match for us.”

Probable Lineups:

England:
Pickford;
Walker, Stones, Maguire;
Tripper, Dier, Lingard, Rose;
Sterling, Kane, Vardy.
Nigeria:
Uzoho;
Shehu, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Idowu;
Onazi, Joel Obi;
Iwobi, Mikel, Victor Moses;
Ighalo

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