World Cup preview, Group F: Nigeria 8 years ago

World Cup preview, Group F: Nigeria

The specialists in youth football are hoping to finally do it on the big stage.

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Top Man

Ogenyi Onazi is a talented central midfielder who plays with Lazio in Serie A, and has frequently been linked with a move to the Premier League and Liverpool in particular.

Composed on the ball and strong in the tackle, Onazi has made a place in the Roman side his own at the age of just 21, with the only question mark over whether or not he will be able to focus on events given the turmoil back at home in the African country.

Onazi comes from Nigerian city of Jos, where he recently avoided a massive bomb at a market by a mere 15 minutes.

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With 118 people killed in the blasts, Onazi admitted he was going to find it hard to switch his focus back to football.

Recounting his lucky escape, he told BBC Sport: "It was just like an ordinary day. Happy faces and friendly warmth that makes you feel happy to be back home.

"We had gone to the railway market to get something. I think it was 15 minutes later when we heard the loud blast from the place. And suddenly, people were just running.

"There was chaos and pandemonium. There was smoke, I was confused, lost and just wondered what had happened. I had no idea what was going on and it was scary.

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"All my life I have never heard a bang or boom like that."

Rising star

Victor Moses is well known to Premier League audiences as a player with unlimited potential who hasn’t managed to find himself the perfect home to showcase his talents.

Moses’ career has stagnated since leaving Wigan Athletic for Chelsea and last season’s loan move to Liverpool saw his role grow more and more peripheral.

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What people tend to forget, however, is that Moses is still just 23-years-old and will see this summer’s World Cup – where he is a likely starter for Nigeria – as the perfect platform to show the skills that first marked him out as one to watch at Crystal Palace.

Did you know?

Out of 15 international FIFA Youth Championships, Nigeria has won four and come second another three times. What does this all mean? They’re fighting below their weight on the senior stage.

Reasons for Irish fans to support them

More Guinness is sold in Nigeria than in any other country in the world. Including Ireland.

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If they were a TV series

Baywatch. It’s too hard to think of a comparable TV series to the Nigerian international football team, so we’re resorting to our default answer of Baywatch.

Prediction

Third in the group and an early exit.

Odds with Ladbrokes: 200/1

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