Gernot Rohr says his youthful Nigeria side will “stay humble” as they prepare to take on Argentina in a World Cup winner-takes-all encounter in Group D.
Ahmed Musa’s stunning second-half double sealed a 2-0 victory for Nigeria against Iceland, with Gylfi Sigurdsson missing a late penalty as Rohr’s side bounced back from defeat to Croatia.
Victory lifted Nigeria to second place behind already qualified Croatia and a point against Argentina could be enough to secure the Super Eagles a place in the last 16, while a win would guarantee progression.
However, Rohr whose side overcame Argentina 4-2 in a November 2017 friendly, insists his squad, the youngest at Russia 2018, will not get carried away.
According to Rohr; “This will be the final in the group because the winner will be qualified. So, we will play to win this game”.
“We played against them in a friendly but there was no Messi when we beat them 4-2 in Krasnodar.
“But we know that we can do it, now the confidence is coming back, but we stay humble.
“What I like in my young team is humility, solidarity, fighting spirit, and even if they make mistakes again; a penalty, these little mistakes are always done by young players who miss experience.
“I said before the World Cup that we’re here to learn, too, and this team will be ready in 2022. This World Cup came too early but we have a good chance to win against Argentina.”
Nigeria switched to 3-5-2 for the Volgograd encounter, with John Obi Mikel – often played as an attacking midfielder moving to a deeper role, while Victor Moses was utilised at wing-back, although Rohr acknowledged convincing the duo to alter their roles proved difficult.
“We changed our organisation, we played 3-5-2, and Moses played where he played for Chelsea, the captain (Mikel) coming back into the position he has in China,” Rohr added.
“I had to speak with the players because in two years we played with Mikel as an offensive midfielder and Moses like a striker.
“If you change something, you have to get the players to accept, with commitment and motivation, not only because the coach is asking.
“They understood that, for the country and the team, you have to make sacrifices.
“To get them to do this for their country, it wasn’t easy to convince them, but they did it well.”