Nigeria file out against Iceland in a little over an hour, knowing the outcome of this match will play a big role in their exit or progression in the tournament.
Below are all the scenarios that the Super Eagles can be faced with at the end of this evening’s encounter:
If we beat Iceland convincingly
This is clearly the best bet for the Super eagles after a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Croatia. A convincing win over Iceland would put the team on 3 points and in second place.
A victory with a two-goal margin and above will help nullify the two-goal deficit incurred by the team in the game against Croatia. This will also set up a feisty final-round clash against Argentina, who also need a win against Nigeria to keep their tournament aspirations alive.
It means any kind of draw in that last game against Argentina will be enough, so long Iceland don’t thrash Croatia. However, if we lose to Argentina after beating Iceland convincingly, then we will need Croatia’s help in denying Iceland victory when both sides meet.
A slim win over Iceland
If the Eagles play out a 1-0 win over Iceland, the team will still be on 3 points — two more points than Argentina have at the moment. But it will still put them on a minus -1 goal difference, which might be a huge disadvantage if the second-place battle goes down to the wire. With a deficit in goal difference, the Eagles might still be knocked out in the first round even after a fairly good result in the next round of games.
Only way to have their destiny in their hands, therefore, is for the Eagles to beat Argentina in the final match. Beating Argentina will render the Iceland-Croatia match unimportant to Nigeria’s qualification hopes. But a draw with Argentina in this scenario means an Iceland victory over Croatia will eliminate Nigeria.
If we draw with Iceland
While a draw might not be a totally good result for the Eagles, it will only take the qualification fight down to the wire. With just one point, there will be automatic qualification for Croatia, meaning all remaining three teams can still make it out of the group. Nigeria’s progress out of the group in this circumstance requires an outright victory over Argentina in the final match combined with the failure of Iceland to beat Croatia.
However, if we beat Argentina after drawing with Iceland, and Iceland manages to beat Croatia, we are out.
If we lose to Iceland
If we lose on Friday, end of discussion! Defeat against Iceland totally rules the Super Eagles out of the tournament and makes the match against Argentina a dead rubber. A loss, however narrow, will see the Super Eagles join compatriots, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Peru on the way out of the tournament.