By Victor Okoye
Abuja – Nigeria midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has declared that the Super Eagles’ key to qualifying for the second round of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup was to win their opening two games.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Super Eagles will begin their Russia 2018 campaign by taking on Croatia at the Kaliningrad Stadium on June 16.
They will then face Iceland at the Volgograd Arena on June 22 in Group D.
Ndidi told FIFA World Cup Russia magazine the team’s final game against Argentina in Saint Petersburg on June 26 would be a very tough one.
He said this was in view of the expected presence of FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in the team.
“Argentina’s team is very good. For me I will say Messi is unstoppable. He is the best player in the world,” said Ndidi.
The Super Eagles have persistently had it rough against the two-time world champions, managing just one win in all meetings between both sides.
Argentina have won all four games against Nigeria at the FIFA World Cup since the two teams first met in 1994 when Nigeria made her debut.
The Albisceleste won the first meeting 2-1 on June 25, 1994 at the Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, at Massachusetts in the U.S.
Nigeria lost again in 2002, this time 1-0 on June 2 at the Kashima Soccer Stadium in Ibaraki, Japan.
It succumbed to another 1-0 loss eight years later on June 12 at the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Four years later, the Eagles led by late Stephen Keshi lost 2-3 to Argentina with a Marcos Rojo winner.
This was after Ahmed Musa had twice restored parity following Messi’s brace at the Estadio-Beira-Rio Porto Alegre in Brazil.
The Super Eagles were however keen on halting the Argentines.
They gave a glimpse of what they could offer going to the World Cup when they defeated the Argentines 4-2 in a high-profile friendly in Krasnodar, Russia.
The 2018 World Cup is expected to kick off from June 14 to July 15 in Russia.(NAN)