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'Nigeria need to improve'

THE HEAT IS ON: Alex Iwobi and Raheem Sterling (right) battle it out at Wembley

SUPER EAGLES coach Gernot Rohr said that Nigeria are not quite ready for the World Cup yet after Nigeria’s narrow 2-1 defeat to England at Wembley (June 2).

“The first lesson is that we are not ready yet and we have to work out in the two weeks we have before the first game. We were not ready at the beginning of the game.

“In the first half their goal came from a corner. The beginning was the opportunity for us to change our formation at half time. We changed to 3-5-2. The players who came in did very well.”

He added: “We would have conceded more goals in the first half but this young team does not give up. The most positive thing from the game was our second half performance, especially the players who came into the midfield.

“We played football like we wanted to play. We had the ball unlike the first half when we were running after the ball.”

Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi said: “We know we need to improve. We need to learn. The team is a young team and that is why we played these friendlies to see how we can improve and for this young team to see what it takes to play in the World Cup. There is always room for improvement and we want to play together as a team.”

Gary Cahill gave England the lead after seven minutes from a header as the Nigerian defence stood still. England captain Harry Kane got the second from a shot from distance, which ‘keeper Francis Uzoho should have saved but the ball went under his body.

Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi pulled one back for the Super Eagles two minutes after the break. Nigeria’s next game is against the Czech Republic in Austria before they depart for Russia.

Iwobi appeared to be injured late in the game but the coach said: “This was due to cramp from all the travelling we have been doing.”

Nigeria are in a group dubbed the ‘group of death’ with Argentina, Croatia and Iceland. Coach Rohr confessed: “We will try to come out of this difficult group then we will see. Our first objective is to qualify from this group.”

Midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, who plays for Leicester in the Premier League, was missing due to injury and the coach said:” My friend Claude Puel (Leicester manager) gave me information and we are following the protocol given to us by Leicester City.

“Today was not a moment for him to play but he will start the next game against the Czech Republic. If he does then he will play against Croatia on June 16.”

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