The Super Eagles have lodged into Hampton-by-Hilton Volgograd Hotel, following their arrival at the Russian city where they will play their second group match of the 2018 World Cup against Iceland on Friday.
The Eagles held their final training session on Wednesday afternoon in Essentuki before taking the flight to Volgograd the following morning for the match with Iceland.
The Eagles arrived in the southern Russian city of Volgograd at 1pm on Thursday, ahead of Friday’s win-or-bust second Group D encounter against Iceland, who drew 1-1 with top favourites, Argentina, few hours before Nigeria lost 2-0 to Croatia.
Consequently, all focus has been on Friday’s clash with the Euro 2016 quarter finalists since Nigeria’s loss to Croatia in Kaliningrad on Saturday.
Friday’s win-or-bust situation is expected to bring the best out of this new generation, with victory guaranteed to be a statement of strong mentality and capacity for turning around adversity, which would do career progression at national and club levels no harm.
Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is 940 kilometres to the south of Moscow and extends alongside the Volga River, with a population of one million people.
It would be recalled that The Battle of Stalingrad was a turning point during the Second World War, with about two million people said to have been killed and Germany’s quest of an expansion mission was decisively aborted.
However, the Eagles will seek a different story in the same city, as victory on Friday would be a turning point in Nigeria’s 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign.
Victory against the Nordic Nation will renew Nigeria’s hope for a place in the knockout rounds; while defeat would mean early elimination from the quadrennial showpiece.
Ahead of the crunch encounter, ‘The Wings of African Pride’ touched down at Volgograd Airport around 12:20pm local and proceeded to their hotel.
The coach, Gernot Rohr and skipper, John Mikel Obi are expected to address another press conference from 5pm at Volgograd Stadium on Thursday.
Before leaving their camp base at Essentuki, Mikel said he and his teammates were ready to make up for their not too convincing display against Croatia.
Mikel also promised that he was ready to sacrifice all, including his position in the team to make sure Nigeria qualifies to the next round.
On arrival in Volgograd, the players looked determined, cheerful and alive, as if to show that they have truly put behind them the loss to Croatia.
Mikel, who was widely scolded for not to functioning effectively in the advanced midfield role against the Croats, said he would be ready to feature in any position for the team as determined by the coach.
“I am ready to play in any position the coach wants me to play. I am comfortable with either role: offensive or defensive. The most important thing is the team,” Mikel vowed.