2014 World Cup: Amadu, Umeh tip Nigeria, Argentina for second round

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Abuja – Musa Amadu, the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), has tipped Nigeria and Argentina for the second round from the first round Group F of the 2014 World Cup.

The Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina were paired alongside Nigeria and Argentina during Friday’s draw in Salvador, Brazil.

Amadu, in an interview on Friday in Abuja described the draw as a “blessing in disguise’’ for Nigeria.

“I think it is a good draw and the important thing is that we don’t have to play Argentina in the first match. Our first game on June 16 is against Iran.

“If we put our act together, we will be able to beat Iran.

“If we are also able to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina on June 21, by the time we meet Argentina on June 25 for our third game, we should be able to qualify for the second round.

“Having said that, we cannot however underrate Iran or Bosnia-Herzegovina because any team that has qualified for the World Cup is a good team and they all have hopes of excelling.

“So, we must take our games very serious. We must prepare very well and never underestimate any team.

“But I am confident that this is a good draw we can build upon,’’ Amadu said.

In his reaction, Mike Umeh, the First Vice-Chairman of NFA, said in a telephone interview that it was miraculous that Nigeria was not in a group he described as “the group of death’’.

Umeh said though Nigeria was paired in the same group with Argentina, playing Iran in the first match would make qualification for the second round easier.

“The pairing is very favourable We are not in the group of death.

“Argentina may have an edge over Nigeria, going by the world football rankings, but all I know is that Nigeria and Argentina are the two teams that will qualify for the second round from group F.

“It is better to play Iran than play against Portugal or Spain in the early round.

“Iran may have a good coach, but I don’t think they have better players than the Eagles who can deliver the goals for them.

“Iran and Bosnia are not big footballing nations, but at the same time we don’t have to underrate any team at this stage,’’ Umeh said.

The Friday’s draw had defending champions Spain, the Netherlands, Chile and Australia, in Group B which could arguably be described as the `group of death’.

Uruguay, Italy, England and Costa Rica are to face each other in Group D which is also another tough group, while Group C has Colombia, Greece, Côte d’Ivoire and Japan.

Group G will see Ghana face an uphill task against Germany, Portugal and USA, while hosts Brazil have Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon to contend with in Group A.

Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras and France are in Group E, while Belgium, Algeria, Russia and Korea Republic will slug it out in Group H.

Brazil and Croatia will contend against each other in the opening match at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo on June 12.

Germany, will create a record by become the first team to reach 100 World Cup matches when they face Portugal on June 17.(NAN)

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