Maybe 2022 will be Nigeria's World Cup - Rohr

Seemingly without intending to write off Nigeria's World Cup in Russia, coach Gernot Rohr is already looking towards Qatar 2022.

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr   -  Getty Images

Gernot Rohr believes this World Cup has come four years early for his young Nigeria side, but hopes it can perform under pressure. Nigeria begins a tricky Group D campaign against Croatia on Saturday, with clashes with Argentina and Iceland to come.

And while Rohr acknowledges the need to make the Nigerian public proud in these matches, he sees performances as the priority - and expects an inexperienced group to deliver on that front.

"We know this pressure. We have this all the time. We had it in the qualifiers. I'm sure we'll make Nigerians happy," he told a pre-match news conference.

"We have such a young team, maybe this World Cup is too soon for them. We have the youngest squad, so maybe 2022 will be their World Cup."

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"We want to make Nigerian people happy, but it's not only the results, it's the attitude and the way we play. Football must also bring values to this big country."

Rohr noted the contrast with its star-studded opponents this weekend, with Croatia boasting the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic, but he wants Nigeria to use the experience to improve.

"They are favourite because their FIFA ranking is high and ours is low. They also have very big players. Five or six play in Serie A, three in Spain, and the others in big clubs. We have players who do not play in these leagues or are not in their teams. They are young, but we hope, with enthusiasm, they can improve in this tournament," he said.

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