|Tuesday, June 5, 2018|
ours sincerely didn't watch the match live, because of some personal engagements ( business before pleasure!), but was constantly updated about the progress of the match, while I was busy.
However, before going to sleep on match day, one took time to review the tape of the match.
One comes away with these impressions:
Generally speaking, one saw two faces of the Super Eagles of Nigeria in that match! In the first half, one saw a Super Eagles team that was swept away in all departments of the game by the seemingly superior English national team. The Super Eagles simply couldn't put their acts together in the first half. Consequently the score of: Nigeria 0, England 2, was fair, and a true reflection of the course of the game!
In the second half, we saw a different Super Eagles that gave the English national team more than a handful of problems, and they scored the only goal of the second half consequently.
What really happened to the Super Eagles in the second half? Me thinks the shrewd tactical master, Coach Gernot Rohr, having quickly analysed the first half, made the following changes:
He fundamentally and radically changed the team's tactical formation from 4-3-3 to 5-3-2! In this new tactical organisation, he used five defenders, apparently, as a way of curbing the 'excesses' of the English offensive thrusts that constantly gave Nigeria's defence plenty of problems, in the first half. In this new defensive organisation, the fullbacks were given the 'extra licence' to overlap well and thus play their role to the fullest of 'pseudo wingers '; and, thus, bring maximal width to the team's offensive thrusts, from the flanks. In this wise, Coach Rohr, brought in Tyronne Ebuehi, a more natural right back than Shehu Abdullahi, to do his bidding. Tyronne Ebuehi's slightly weaker defensive ability, in comparison to Shehu Abdullahi's, was compensated by the new right half back, Kenneth Omeruo, who replaced Leon Balogun, who was there to wade off any English offensive breakthroughs that escaped Tyronne Ebuehi.
Bryan Idowu, the left back, in the absence of conventional wingers in the 5-3-2 formation, also stepped up his overlapping runs in comparison to the first half.
The three central defenders were thus: Kenneth Omeruo, at right half back, William Troost-Ekong, at centre-half back and John Ogu, who replaced Ogenyi Onazi, at left halfback. The Super Eagles' defence, thus, got the needed stability in the second half, a major factor in the Super Eagles' 'renaissance' in the second half!
Coach Rohr, used three mid-fielders in this new tactical concept. John Mikel Obi, who played throughout the match as an offensive mid-fielder, continued in this role in the second half. However, this time around, he was better backed up by substitute Etebo Oghenekaro, who played well as the team's box to box player; as well as Alex Iwobi, who was withdrawn to the mid-field in the second half. The resurgent mid-field in the second half, played a key role in the turnaround of the team's fortunes in the second half!
The offensive line was also re-organised in the 5-3-2 formation, the team now played with two mobile strikers, who traversed the length and breadth of the offensive line, in an extra- mobile disposition! This new organisation was meant to compensate for the absence of conventional wingers, as well as force the compact-playing English defensive organisation, to somewhat 'thin' out, and give more space to the Super Eagles' offensive thrusts. In this wise, the initial pair of Victor Moses and Odion Ighalo, and later on, Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho, did much better in the second half.
The net effect of these changes is that we saw a different and much better Super Eagles in the second half!
In conclusion, Nigerians must continue to support this team, regardless of the results of the friendly matches. Friendly matches, are meant to expose a team's weaknesses, for onward correction, before the competitive matches! In this wise, one remains hopeful. The lost match against the English national team, rather than be regarded as a loss, is seen by your sincerely as a very useful learning experience, which will benefit the Super Eagles at the World cup competition. Coach Rohr, in my considered opinion, has apparently seen that the 5-3-2 formation may be a very useful formation, at the World cup, considering the Super Eagles' defensive frailties. In this wise, Coach Rohr, should be guided by the popular soccer maxim that: with a good attack, a team can win a match, but with a good defence, a team can win a tournament!
Yours sincerely believes in these Super Eagles!
"Anyi bu nkwa!"
UP SUPER EAGLES! UP NIGERIA!!!!!!