Nigeria’s likely XI against Cape Verde: Ighalo misses out as Rohr’s men seek playoff spot

The Super Eagles have a date with destiny today (Tuesday) when they take on the Blue Sharks at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in their final group game for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Nigeria go into the match, needing just a point to seal a place in the final playoff round, but Cape Verde know they can take Nigeria’s place with a win.

The Super Eagles are the clear favourites not just because they play at home but because they have better players.

However, their shock home loss to the Central African Republic last month showed that big names don’t play the game.

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr knows there is no room for error after his team was criticised following the 2-0 win over Liberia in the penultimate group game.

The three-time African champions defeated the Lone Stars 2-0 in Tangiers last Saturday, but fans criticised the general performance.

For over a year, the Super Eagles general play has been uninspiring, with the team lacking identity. However, Rohr and his players have the chance to change the narrative by putting on a commanding show against the Blue Sharks.

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And ahead of the game, Soccernet looks at the likely XI that will take on the Cape Verdeans.

Rohr is likely to stick with the majority of the players that played the game against Liberia, but there could be one change.

In goal, Maduka Okoye should keep his place, with Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong in the heart of the defence.

Rohr used a 3-5-2 formation against Liberia, with Chidozie Awaziem joining Balogun and Ekong in a three-man defence.

But given that Cape Verde will sit deep and try to hit Nigeria on the break, the German tactician could consider making a tactical switch by reverting to a 4-3-3.

If that is the case, Ola Aina should come in for Awaziem at right-back, with Jamilu Collins keeping his place at left-back.

Irrespective of the tactics, Wilfred Ndidi and Joe Aribo will keep their spot in the midfield. Moses Simon and Alex Iwobi should also keep their spot on the wings, with Kelechi Iheanacho partnering with Victor Osimhen up front.

Odion Ighalo is back in the squad after almost three years away, and he could come in should Nigeria need a goal.

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Samuel Chukwueze is also another attacking option that could come off the bench if things do not go according to plan.

Likely XI: Okoye, Ekong, Balogun, Awaziem, Collins, Simon, Ndidi, Aribo, Iwobi, Iheanacho, Osimhen

Predictions

Nigeria are the favourites, but Cape Verde are well-coached and are capable of causing an upset. But having learnt their lesson against CAR, the Super Eagles should get the required point needed to seal a playoff spot.

Nigeria to win or draw and under 2.5