Possible Formations and Line-ups for the Super Eagles at the 2018 World Cup


With the 2018 FIFA World Cup slowly but surely approaching, the question on every Super Eagles fans’ lips (and minds) is: which players will line up for Nigeria on which formation?

Having deployed 4-3-3 formation for most of the qualifying matches, Coach Gernot Rohr of Nigeria displayed astute technical know-how by unleashing a 5-3-2 formation to devastating effect to demolish Argentina 4:2 in an international friendly match in November last year.

It is safe to say that the players that will line up for any match in the world cup will largely depend on the formation the coach intends to install for that match based on the perceived strengths and weakness of the opposition and the opportunities and threats coach Rohr (and his technical team) expect these to present to the Super Eagles.

As the coach has used 5-3-2 and 4-3-3 formations in previous matches, these will be examined here starting with the first. This article assumes all available players will be fit for selection (if only!)

5-3-2 FORMATION

Goalkeeper – Ikechukwu Ezenwa: With 2 recent continental tournament experiences under his belt, at the ripe age of 29 and with decent outings for the national team thus far, he seems the safest option.

Left wingback – Brian Idowu: One cap, one goal shows his attacking instinct and he defends well too. A slight edge above Echiejile or Aina.

Centre-back – Chidozie Awaziem: You kind of feel the coach will keep faith with the youngster.

Left centre-back – Leon Balogun: First choice of the coach.

Right centre-back – William Troost-Ekong: First choice of the coach.

Right wing-back – Victor Moses: He may just play his club role here with much more freedom to roam the midfield and attacking areas.

Right defensive midfield – Wilfred Ndidi: He will be selected ahead of John Ogu as he covers more grounds and will be asked to sit back and support the right of the defence as Moses will be expected up-front for long periods.

Left defensive midfield – Ogenyi Onazi: His Experience will see him selected ahead of Mikel Agu.

Centre midfield – John Obi: He will be expected to link attack and defence and also free up wing-backs with long range passes; much creativity and calmness will be expected of him.

Support Striker – Brown Ideye or Kelechi Iheanacho: Tough one here. Ideye is the best team player around however Iheanacho will be selected as he would be seen to have that bit more trickery and a more confident finisher – for one so young!

Main striker – Odion Ighalo: No contest; unless the coach decides to go for Kelechi-Iwobi combo.

4-3-3 FORMATION

Goalkeeper – Ikechukwu Ezenwa: He should brush off competition from other goalkeepers.

Left back – Elderson Echiejile: He does not appear to have done enough to lose his place in this formation in the eyes of the coach despite other viable options.

Left centre-back – Leon Balogun: First choice of the coach.

Right centre-back – William Troost-Ekong: First choice of the coach.

Right back – Shehu Abdullahi: He performed well in qualifies and, barring any dramatic loss of form, should keep his place in this formation.

Right defensive midfield – Wilfred Ndidi: He is first choice in this role for club and country.

Left defensive midfield – Ogenyi Onazi: His Experience should see him selected ahead of Mikel Agu even in this formation.

Centre midfield – John Obi: He will be expected to link up with Victor Moses in injecting the creativity required to unlock defences in this formation.

Right Winger – Victor Moses: Though playing as a winger, he would still be expeted to roam, drift into midfield and switch wings to either score or create scoring opportunities.

Left Winger – Alex Iwobi or Moses Simon: Really tough one here. If the winger is expected to operate predominantly from wide areas, then Moses; if expected to be much closer to the 18 yard box, then Iwobi. I will go with Moses as Iwobi can be an impact sub.

Striker – Odion Ighalo: Brown Ideye will need to be on fire leading up to the world cup to displace Ighalo in this position. Iheanacho remains an option for the coach.

#NigerianFootball

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