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#Brazinga2014 - World Cup Team Profile - Nigeria

Monday, 30 June 2014 - 8:22pm IST | Agency: AFP

Nigeria had a decent group stage finish as they managed to secure the second in Group F, five points group leaders Argentina. However, their performance wasn't great as they won only one of their three group stage matches, which was against Bosnia. They were held in a goal-less draw with Iran and lost 3-2 against Argentina. With four points, they some-how managed to progress to the knock-out stage. They are up against France in the Round-of-16.

Super Eagles ready to swoop

Fenerbache centre-forward Emmanuel Emenike and the Liverpool winger Victor Moses are expected to be Keshi's preferred forwards, but there are a whole string of strikers in contention. During the last CAN he only took those players willing and able to join the pre-CAN training camp, excluding for example West Brom forward Peter Odemwingie.

In midfield John Obi Mikel, also with Lille, plays a more creative role with Nigeria than he did all those years at Chelsea and he is the man relied upon in the hole behind the strikers, while Sunday Mba is a good replacement to feed the strikers when Mikel moves out left.

Four years ago in South Africa the Super Eagles, as Nigeria are known, fell at the first round after defeats to Argentina, who they face against this time around and lost 2-1 to Greece before a 2-2 draw with South Korea, flying back to Lagos with a single point.

In Africa it is often said that Nigeria have the most talent pool of players but don't win the tournaments because of a lack of focus. But now Nigeria have a solid coach, a focused and talented group of players and the infrastructure to back up their teams at tournaments, as shown at the Beijing Games where they got silver, at the 2013 CAN and at the 2013 Under-17's World Cup.

Country Profile:

Population: 170 million

Area: 923,768 sq. km

Capital: Abuja

Currency: Nigerian naira

Federation: Nigerian Football Association, founded 1945, affiliated to Fifa in 1959

Registered players: 58,750

Colours: All green with white trim

World Cup appearances: 5 (1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014)

World Cup record: Second round (1994, 1998), first round (2002, 2010)

CAN appearances: 17 (1963, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013)

CAN honours: Winners (1980, 1994, 2013), finalists (1984, 1988, 1990, 2000), third place (1976, 1978, 1992, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010)

How they qualified: Won Africa zone Group F with 12pts ahead of Malawi 7, Kenya 6 and Namibia 5 7 goals for and 3 against. Then beat Ethiopia 4-1 of aggregate in the play-offs.

Top clubs: Bayelsa United, Heartland FC, Kano Pillars, Enyimba FC

Key players: Vincent Enyeama, John Obi Mikel and Emmanuel Emenike

Coach: Stephen Keshi (since Nov 2011)

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