The Super Eagles will discover their opponents in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia at the tournament’s draw ceremony at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Friday.
The 32-team 21st World Cup has been scheduled to take place between June 14 and July 15, 2018.
Coach Gernot Rohr says he is calm and collected and that the Super Eagles have no fear of any team, for the Final Draw for the 21st FIFA World Cup finals.
Rohr said that there is no weak squad in the 32 –team field, and anyone hoping to play so –called ‘average teams’ in the group phase is only guilty of wishful thinking.
“All the teams that are in the Final Draw, except the host nation Russia, played qualifying matches. They all emerged from tough encounters and therefore, none can be tagged ‘weak.’
“In a couple of hours, everyone will know their opponents. There is no apprehension. If you have to be listed among the best, you have to conquer the better teams and even beat some of the best.”
Nigeria emerged from a truly tough qualifying group, which included three teams that were among Africa’s five flag –bearers at the 2014 World Cup, and the other – Zambia – having won the Africa Cup of Nations only few years before.
All were former Africa Cup champions, and Cameroon were even the Cup holders. Between them were 10 African titles: Cameroon (5); Nigeria (3); Algeria (1); Zambia (1).
During the week, statistical analysis of the teams in the Final Draw revealed that Nigeria used the youngest squad to qualify for the finals, and 16 days ago right on Russian soil, the three –time African champions came from two goals down to flog two –time world champions Argentina 4-2 in a friendly game.
“We don’t see that as more than a friendly, but what we took away was the capacity of the boys to respond appropriately to adversity, and I loved their reaction,” Rohr intimated.
The win brought back memories of Nigeria’s 4-1 spanking of the Argentines in another friendly in Abuja on the first day of June 2011, and the 1996 Olympic Final, in which the South Americans were outclassed by the Dream Team.
“Seriously speaking, every team has the right to dream. But we have our heads on our shoulders and our feet on the ground, and whatever draw comes, we will take it one match at a time.”
Today’s Final Draw at the State Kremlin Palace will start at 6pm Moscow time (4pm Nigeria time).