Gernot Rohr has described the Super Eagles as “ambitious underdogs” leading up to the World Cup in Russia, while admitting he was surprised by how easy it was to qualify for Russia 2018 from a difficult group.
Nigeria are drawn in Group D in Russia along with Argentina, Croatia and Iceland.
Of course, I would have wanted an easier group. But it is what it is. Now we have this strong group. If you look at our FIFA ranking, we are only in 52nd position – the others are far ahead of us. I think they sit in position 14, eight and four. That means we are the underdogs,” Rohr said in an interview published by Soccer Laduma today.
“We were only in pot four in the draw, we mustn’t forget that.
“But we are an underdog with ambition and we want to get into the knockout stages, even though it will be very difficult. That’s our target.”
The coach said he was only surprised by how quickly the Eagles qualified for Russia 2018 from a difficult section that had African champions Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia.
“I wasn’t surprised (we qualified for the World Cup) because I knew we had a good team with many young and ambitious players, who can still develop,” he said
“I was confident that we could qualify. It wasn’t a surprise for me.
“The only aspect that did surprise me was how quickly we qualified and how relatively easy it was. That was a positive surprise. I didn’t expect it to be this easy.”