Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel has said the team with the better tactics will win when the Super Eagles clash with Croatia Saturday night in Kaliningrad.
“It will be a difficult game, a game of tactics,” the Eagles captain predicted.
“We have to make sure we control this game.”
He also praised the quality of the Croatians. “They are a very good team, fantastic team with fantastic players,” he remarked.
He said it was crucial to start the World Cup campaign with a result.
“Every game counts. It’s therefore important that we start in a positive way, build on that so as to qualify from this group,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mikel has assured that he is ready to lead Nigeria well at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.
Russia 2018 is Obi’s second FIFA World Cup. But the midfield enforcer has played at every big stage of the game possible and is no longer awed by any occasion.
“It is the FIFA World Cup – the biggest stage. We are here to prove ourselves. The attitude that saw us through a tough African qualifying group is still there, and looking at the boys, I have confidence that we will achieve our first objective of getting through the group stage.
“It is going to be about focus, about ambition and about perseverance. The confidence is there to go out and fulfill our pledge to the country.”
For the team to achieve its objective, Obi is fully aware that he certainly has to provide more than the steel and great passes from the middle; he needs to ‘carry’ the entire team on his back.
“Everyone in this team is ambitious. The World Cup means a lot to everyone, and this is where to prove how good you are. No one wants to miss this opportunity.”
“It is going to be a tough World Cup finals, from the efforts and visible ambition of the various teams, and that includes Nigeria. We will give it our best shot.”