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Revived Eagles look equal to any challenge that may come their way

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My hope is that Nigeria will rise to the occasion tonight when they come up against Lionel Messi’s Argentina.

World Cup - Nigeria Training

Your guess as to who will eventually win the Fifa World Cup is as good as anyone’s right now, the mega scores by England and Belgium, including the better than expected good form of the hosts Russia, notwithstanding.

By the end of the first round of games Brazil, Germany and Nigeria had all but reinvented themselves and managed to shake off the stalking ghosts that were threatening to derail their campaigns even before they had started.

My hope is that Nigeria will rise to the occasion tonight (8pm start) when they come up against Lionel Messi’s Argentina. I don’t want to sound arrogant or reckless but Argentina with Messi in the side scares nobody.

I’d be more worried if Argentina put Messi on the bench and let the no brand members of the team play. This will take the pressure off Messi and the others who look up to him to deliver some sort of magic. It will help focus the team to do what they can to the best of their own ability.

For a shining example of this just take a look at England, The English team minus the retired Wayne Rooney is in better shape and they’re focused.

On the other hand the just resuscitated Nigeria looks equal to the challenge, any sort of challenge at that. With Obi Mikel in the middle and Ahmed Musa up front I think Naija is set for the big time in the knockout stages. Good luck beforehand my friends.

As for Nigeria’s west Africa neighbours, the informed opinion is that Senegal ought to have had a better showing and taken position one by now going for their third match. Senegal are in the softest group of all in the tournament. Even old World Cup campaigners Columbia stumbled at the beginning and only revived their chances on the bad luck and poor performance of the disorientated Japanese team.

Phew! the Belgium side are another kettle of fish altogether. They are unstoppable thus far. Just to confuse the enemy even more the Belgians (I presume) posted some fake news that their talisman Romelu Lukaku might sit out their clash against England on Thursday due to a so-called injury. I don’t buy that bit of news. If this turns out to be correct I’d play Lukaku all the same even if it means he hobbles around the pitch on crutches.

We welcome to the rarified atmosphere of world football the new entrants Panama and Iceland. The two got a real taste of the beautiful game last week. Panama had a rude awakening against England who walloped them an unforgettable 6-1. But gee whizz, did you see the South American side celebrate their first world cup goal against England?

We’ve been there and know the feeling all too well

The icelanders too got shocked by an all star Nigeria. They could not counter the leisurely, measured play of the team from the warmer climate. They will go back with a singular lesson in hand, namely that no amount of running down and defensive play against the enemy is ever good for all occasions.

Seeing that the likely cup contenders are so congested at this stage and rather than risk my precious neck I nominate a few preferred candidates for the trophy with the condition that this is purely provisional as things will almost certainly change within hours.

On the very outside are Russia, France and Belgium. At the centre are Mexico and England. Those in with a bit of luck might be Brazil and Germany. Argentina, like Iran, will have to be happy for having made the trip to Russia.

A word on the video referee, It’s good so far. However, just iron out the kinks and then keep it.