Nigeria – Three World Cup stars to look out for in Russia 2018

Progress isn't beyond them

Nigeria boast some of the best individual football players on the planet but Russia 2018 won’t be the scene of their first ever World Cup win, that’s according to bookmakers. Anyone who disagrees will get a cracking 250/1 at 888Sport.

Super Eagles booked their place in the competition proper with a group win in the qualifying round, beating Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria at a canter. The victors ended with stats of four wins and two draws from six, unbeaten with 12 goals scored and four conceded.

Led by German Gernot Rohr they have been drawn against Argentina, Iceland and Croatia. Not the worst scenario and a place in the knock-out stage of the competition is certainly within their grasp. We’ll get a feel for the shape of this side when kicking things off vs Iceland on Saturday 16th June, a match shown live on ITV from 8.00pm. Bet Victor make the Africans nailed on 1/3 favourites to be eliminated after three starts, 11/4 to reach the last 16.

There are some real stars in their line-up that’ll be familiar to followers of the English Premier League. Here’s three we expect to shine…..

There's goals in this side

Alexander Iwobi

22-year-old forward Alexander Iwobi is expected to fire the goals needed to keep his side in the mix during this tournament and he has been chalked up on the betting board as a 4/1 jolly with Bet Victor to score more than any of his teammates and finish as Nigeria’s top marksman. The Arsenal player actually turned out for England at youth level, representing the Three Lions at U16, U17 and U18 but decided his best chance to make an impact was with the country of his birth, debuting in October 2015.

Nigeria claimed a famous win over Argentina late last year with a stunning 4-2 upset. Banega and Aguero were on target for the beaten side but that was no match for Iheanacho, Idowu and a double from Iwobi who took both goals in the second-half to cap a marvellous display that suggests the team can’t be taken lightly this summer.

Victor Moses

Another supremely talented footballer out of Lagos, Victor Moses will be desperate to put what was a poor season at Chelsea behind him with a sparkling display on the world stage. His club side may have endured a difficult campaign, finishing outside of the top-four and missing out on Champions League football but winger Moses did chip in, finishing with three goals and three assists. He’s 6/1 to top score for his country.

There’s no doubt Moses carries a goal threat and he has already banged in 11 in 29 games, but he’ll be expected to get himself up the park at every opportunity and provide the ammunition to those ahead of him. We saw in the blue of Chelsea, Victor often plays best when up against it, asked to get the ball and run his side out of danger, turning defence into attack. That’ll be the job put to him again here and he takes confidence from scoring in a 1-0 win over Poland earlier this year.

Kelechi Iheanacho

Promise was involved in a drawn-out transfer saga last summer before signing for Leicester City in a five-year deal from Man City for a reported £25m with The Cityzens insisting on a buy-back clause. That’s how much they rate this exciting 21-year-old. The pride of Imo enjoyed a decent first season at the King Power with his new employers working their way to a top-10 finish. Number eight Iheanacho finished with eight goals and four assists, placing him third in The Foxes’ performance charts behind Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.

The 6ft 2inch goal-getter has only picked up 14 senior international caps to date but has already returned eight goals including one against Argentina and another in a 4-0 qualifying win over Cameroon last summer. There’s plenty more to come from this player and despite his age he can be trusted to carry the weight of expectation on his shoulders and take any chances that fall his way. 4/1 to be Nigeria’s top scorer looks a bet or he’s 150/1 at Coral to win the Golden Boot.

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