KALININGRAD, Russia — Nigeria boss Gernot Rohr says his young side can “do better” than what they produced in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Croatia in their Group D opener in Kaliningrad.
The youthful Super Eagles’ deficiencies on set pieces were exploited by an experienced Croatia squad while the attack created very little offensively.
“When you lose a match it is something we don’t like but we recognise that Croatia had the better team tonight and my young players made some mistakes,” said Rohr. “The first goal is coming on a corner, the second one also on a corner and a penalty.
“I think these young players need time to learn, sometimes they were a little bit naive on the set pieces but we will work on it.”
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Nigeria next face an even smaller football nation with big ambitions when they next meet Iceland in a match that could determine which team advances.
Tiny Iceland sent a shock through the World Cup earlier on Saturday when they battled twice champions Argentina to a 1-1 draw.
“We have to accept this defeat and now we have to win against Iceland, all is possible still,” said Rohr. “If we win the next game all is possible for the qualification.
“We were satisfied with the organisation of the team defensively but we didn’t have so many opportunities to score.
“You need to make at least four points if you want to be qualified, nothing is lost all is in our hands so let’s be positive we believe we can do it.
“We have the youngest team in the world at this World Cup, let them learn from this match.
“I think we can do better than what we did today.”