The match against the Czech Republic marks the end of an unimpressive build up to the World Cup for the Eagles. A defeat against the Czech’s makes it the third defeat against top oppositions during this build up.
After a disappointing display against the Europeans, the following deductions can be made from the game:
1. Defending set pieces: This is the second consecutive game the eagles will be conceding via a corner kick. This should be a cause for concern for the coaching crew of the eagles considering the eagles will be up against two teams who are quite strong at set pieces (Croatia and Iceland). If the defending showcased during this friendlies are anything to go by, the eagles might just be conceding quite a lot via set pieces
2. Attacking set pieces is also an area of concern, from the first 3 set pieces, none made a contact with an eagles player. Given the availability of players such as Mikel, Balogun, Ogu, and Troost-Ekong, the Eagles should be doing much better from it’s corner kicks and free kicks. At tournaments such as the World Cup, chances might be very hard to come by, and the difference between teams might be set piece chance taken.
3. Late off the blocks : once again against the Czechs the Eagles are also found guilty of getting into the game quite late. Such occurrence will be dangerous especially against top quality opponents who can effectively end a game in the first 20-30 minutes, leaving the Eagles with chasing shadows for the remainder of a match.
4. Starting fullbacks: the pair of Idowu and Shehu have been below par in the games against England and Czech Republic. As for Shehu, there is an alternative in Tyronne Ebuehi, who has been really impressive when given the opportunity. The main concern is on the left wing, with Ola Aina excluded from the World Cup squad, there seems to be no better alternative for the eagles as Echiejile doesn’t look any bit better than Brian Idowu.
5. Time to change Formation?: coach Rohr really needs to snap out of the 4-3-3 formation which has proven to be ineffective for the Eagles. This was evident in the first half’s of games against England and the Czech Republic. A change in formation in the second half brought about better defensive and attacking play from the eagles, and more stability in the all round play. Playing our first game in about 10 days time , a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation will serve the eagles better.
Hopefully, the coaching crew and the players will put on their thinking caps, and make the necessary corrections before the team files out against the Croatians on the 16th of June. How far the country will go in the tournament is dependent on getting a positive result in the first game, a heavy defeat, and the Eagles might just be kissing their hopes of progressing to the next stage goodbye…