On a Day When the Eagles Melted Ice
To be honest, I had my reservations about the game between my country and Iceland after the opening game against Croatia but when the manager, Gernot Rohr, stated that he would change his tactics and some of his playing personnel, I garnered some hope and with Croatia demolishing Argentina the previous night, the group was thrown open.
The suspicions were correct when I saw the starting lineup with Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo sacrificed for a new tactical 3-5-2 setup that saw Kenneth Omeruo join the ‘Oyinbo Wall’ of William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun. Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, given a withdrawn role behind Oghenekaro Etebo and Onyinye Ndidi. Victor Moses and Bryan Idowu assumed wingback roles while Kelechi Iheanacho and last World Cup two goal hero, Ahmed Musa leading the line.
The first half was all Iceland with Nigeria failing to even register an attempt on goal but the outlook changed in the second with the introduction of Tyrone Ebuehi for Bryan Idowu. The first goal of the game arrived when Moses had one of his better forays up front (has been disappointing for most of the tournament) before dinking a cross that was controlled superbly by Musa with a great first touch before blasting the ball in. I watched the match in a pub and everywhere went into ruptures.
The second goal by Musa was simply amazing, taking on a defender, shimming past the goalie before having the composure to blast the ball to the unguarded net.
There was a scare when VAR was rightly used to award a penalty to Iceland but Gyifl Sigurdsson sent his spot kick to orbit. Maybe he was aiming for an eagle or something, but it was a great result for Nigeria.
Check out the reactions from some fans watching the game in and outside the pub.