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Benin loss undermines League stars claim

Super Eagles
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Cameroon's failure is good news for Nigeria

Nigeria
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The Tragedy of the Nigeria Players' Union

Nigeria
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Super Eagles need Mikel, Moses back

Nigeria
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 By Nick Miller

England stave off Nigeria as Raheem Sterling's mixed day adds to eventful week

The FC crew talk about England's attacking threat, but are far more worried of their defensive woes ahead of the World Cup.
KweseSports' Colin Udoh and ESPN's Alison Bender discuss the pros and cons from England's narrow win over Nigeria at Wembley.
Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier and Gary Cahill defended Raheem Sterling after the winger was criticised for having a gun tattooed on his leg.
ESPN's Alison Bender gets the thoughts of England fans outside Wembley on how deep a run the Three Lions can make in the World Cup.

LONDON -- Three thoughts from Wembley on England's 2-1 win over Nigeria in a pre-World Cup international friendly.

1. England hold off Nigeria, questions remain

England's pretournament friendlies can often present false hope for when things really matter. A couple of years ago Roy Hodgson's men came from 2-0 down to brilliantly beat Germany 3-2 in Berlin, and it was tempting to think about what success they could achieve in France. A couple of months later, they were humiliated by Iceland and...

Nigeria's united squad, led by Mikel, could help mask goalkeeping issue

Nigeria made World Cup qualification look simple, but can the Super Eagles overcome past disappointments on the main stage itself?
Ian Darke asks the ESPN panel which of the five African nations has the best chance of making a big splash at the 2018 World Cup.
Ian Darke leads the ESPN panel in predicting the 2018 World Cup winner with names of Germany, Brazil, France and England among the list.

The 2018 World Cup is just over a month away and all 32 teams are preparing in earnest for their shot at the trophy in Russia. ESPN FC is previewing every team ahead of the opening game on June 14. Find all 32 teams here.

Who they are

Captain: John Obi Mikel
Manager: Gernot Rohr
Nickname: The Super Eagles
FIFA Rank (as of April 12, 2018): 47

How they qualified

Despite being drawn in a group alongside Algeria, Zambia and African champions Cameroon, Nigeria made light work...



 By Nick Miller

World Cup Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

The ESPN FC crew discuss whether Lionel Messi and Argentina have the toughest World Cup group.

Intriguing can be a pejorative word in football, because so often it just means: "Dull, but I'm pretending to be interested on an intellectual level."

But this genuinely could be the most intriguing group of the first round. You have Lionel Messi's (probable) last attempt at international greatness, the unpredictability of a Croatia side who sacked their coach before their playoffs, the possibility that tiny Iceland could repeat their Euro 2016 heroics and a fresh and exciting Nigeria side.

There's...

Brian Idowu's journey from St Petersburg to Nigeria may end at World Cup

Bryan Iwodu making his debut for Nigeria.
Brian Idowu, right, scored in Nigeria's 4-2 friendly win over Argentina on Tuesday.

"I am an African with a Russian heart," Nigeria's Brian Idowu said in 2011. The story of the Russia-born defender who made his debut for the Super Eagles on Tuesday against Argentina, and could play at the 2018 World Cup in the country of his birth, is unique.

Idowu acted as a translator at Nigeria's news conference ahead of the fixture in Krasnodar earlier this week because he speaks perfect Russian. The defender then proved his worth on the pitch as well, scoring just eight minutes after...

 By Tom Adams

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi continuing to make strides for both club and country

When is an international break not an international break? When the usual dreary procession of non-events is shattered by the sight of teams actually qualifying for a World Cup -- accompanied by an outpouring of emotion and a tableau of joy. One such moment was provided by an Arsenal player.

Tears of happiness were shed in locations as disparate as Egypt, Panama and Iceland, if not exactly England. And in Nigeria, the honour of securing his country's place at the World Cup went to a mere 21-year-old:...

Benin loss undermines League stars claim to ascension

Nigeria lost to Benin in their African Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifier this week. To put that in perspective, consider that in 21 previous attempts - spanning 58 long years - the Squirrels had never won against the Super Eagles.

For the second international game in a row, Nigeria have fallen to a side they had never previously lost to, and adding insult to injury this week, they did it via a penalty in stoppage time.

It causes deep introspection, judging from the reaction on social media...