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Mikel happy with Eagles’ underdogs status

Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel said the team, is not under any pressure to perform at the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Mikel noted that he was happy with the “underdog” status of the team in their group D pairing featuring Croatia, Iceland and Argentina.

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Super Eagles players pose for a picture before the match against Poland

“Honestly, people didn’t expect us to qualify but we are off to Russia and now it’s all about the rankings,” the former Chelsea midfielder told BBC Sport. “When you look at the group I’d say we are more than happy for people to write us off and very happy to be the underdogs.

“It takes the pressure off the shoulders of our young squad and we can go about our World Cup with humility, which is perfectly fine.

“Football is played on the pitch and not by rankings or permutations,” Mikel added.

Two-time world champions Argentina have beaten Nigeria four times at the World Cup, with the Super Eagles losing by the odd goal in each of the matches.

But the three-time African champions are not short on confidence going into next month’s tournament after defeating Argentina 4-2 in a friendly in Krasnodar last November and beating Poland away in March.

“We’ve got a blend of experience and a young squad playing without fear but with passion, which is good for us on the road to Russia,” he added.

“We have friendlies against DR Congo (28 May), England (2 June) and Czech Republic (6 June) that will help us finalise our World Cup preparations.

“From the first game at the World Cup our target would be to keep progressing as a team and take it from there.”


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