Tianjin Teda of China midfielder, John Mikel Obi has parried forecast that the Super Eagles will fall short at the World Cup, due to their low position in the monthly FIFA rankings, as he says the Nigerian team are determined to prove their critics wrong.
Though the Eagles have been written off by many pundits, following their unimpressive performances in pre-World Cup friendlies, the Nigerian captain insists they have what it takes to cause surprises when action starts in Russia.
Heading into their group opener against Croatia on Saturday, Mikel said the Eagles will show a different mentality than they did in defeats by Serbia, England and Czech Republic.
Incidentally, the Eagles are the lowest ranked team by FIFA in Group D, behind Argentina, Croatia and Iceland, but Mikel insists the Nigerians are determined to pull off some shocks at this year’s Mundial.
Argentina are ranked fifth, while Croatia who the Super Eagles will face in their opening 2018 FIFA World Cup game this Saturday, are 20th in the ranking, while World Cup debutants Iceland are 22nd while Nigeria are 48th.
Mikel, who is poised to attend his second World Cup, has featured 83 times for the Eagles, scoring six goals in the process, and is looking up to enacting a glorious swansong for the global soccer showpiece in Russia.
The Nigerian skipper further declared that he expects the Eagles to come out all-guns blazing unlike the slow first halves they suffered against England and the Czech Republic.
Mikel said: “We used the matches to try something new. We didn’t want to play same system and same players. It was a good time to try something new.
“But now it is the tournament, this is the business time, and focus is to play our way, hope we do that on Saturday. We will go all out from the word go, we don’t want to wait till the second half.”