Friday, March 23 – 8:45p.m Local time – Stadion Miejski, Wroclaw, Poland.
Activities in the major Leagues in Europe and quite frankly around the world have come to a standstill with the return of the international break.
The camaraderie between players plying their trade at the same clubs comes to a momentary hold as they line up to adorn their national colors.
The international break has frequently managed to polarize opinions, more often than not causing a rift between club managers and national team coaches over the use, or perhaps misuse, of players.
It’s no surprise that a considerable majority of injuries are incurred while players are on international duty; either due to the inordinate passion that comes with representing one’s country, little attention to detail by the medical staff at national level, or both.
It’s a rarity for players to abscond their international duties so much for pride, as it is for keeping alive their hopes of someday winning the FIFA World Cup.
Either way, the international break has for once attracted little dissent from clubs, primarily because there is no brutal gauntlet of games at the moment, with most Leagues approaching the tail end of the season.
As such, the first international friendlies since the turn of the calendar year couldn’t have come at a better time, most especially with the launch of the countdown to the global extravaganza in Russia.
Poland will on Friday play host to Nigeria as both sides flex their muscles in preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Nigerian national team, a regular in the quadrennial international football tournament, became the first African nation to seal a place in Russia.
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The Super Eagles – who were pitted in Group B against Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria – qualified from the unequivocal ‘group of death’ on 13 points from five matches and with a game spare, breezing to their sixth consecutive appearance at the World Cup finals since debuting in 1994; albeit with a notable absence in 2006.
Poland on the other hand booked their place in the World Cup for the first time since 2006, qualifying from Group E with 25 points from 10 games. The Red and white topped the group ahead of Denmark, Montenegro, Romania, Armenia and Kazakhstan.
The match will be a timely acid test for Gernot Rohr, who has his sights firmly set in Russia where his charges will launch their World Cup campaign against Croatia, before lining up with Iceland and Argentina for the rest of their matches in Group D.
Conversely, Poland will be launching their bid for the coveted prize against Senegal, followed by Colombia and Japan in the final match of Group H.
The Nigeria camp was aloft with activity as most players arrived early, all except John Mikel Obi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi who are still expected arrive at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Wroclaw ahead of the tie.
Francis Uzoho (Deportivo), Elderson Echieji (Sivasspor), Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv), Joel Obi (Torino), Shehu Abdullahi (Bursaspor), John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Moses Simon (KAA Gent), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasımpasa), William Troost-Ekong (Bursaspor), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Ola Aina (Hull City), Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag), Brian Idowu (FC Amkar Perm), Leon Balogun (Mainz), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), Uche Agbo (Standard Liege) and Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City).
Poland vs. Nigeria betting prediction
The Poles are massive favorites as they are sixth on the latest FIFA standings compared to the Super Eagles who are a distant 52.
Although just a friendly, the match will not only assist in gauging both sides, but also sets the tone in preparation for the summer event in Russia.
Prediction: Poland to win – -117.65 on William Hill
Most recent results – Poland
- Poland 0-1 Mexico (November 13, 2017)
- Poland 0-0 Uruguay (November 10, 2017)
- Poland 4-2 Montenegro (October 8. 2017)
Most recent results- Nigeria
- Morocco 4-0 Nigeria (February 4, 2018)
- Sudan 0-0 Nigeria (January 31, 2018)
- Nigeria 2-1 Angola (January 28, 2018)
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