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World Cup Fantasy Preview: Nigeria

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Coming off a tremendous Africa Cup of Nations win, their third in the nation's history, Nigeria look poised to make a run towards advancing out of Group F. With Argentina representing their biggest obstacle, Nigeria will have to rely on good results from their remain games against Bosnia and Iran. Which players can potentially make an impact in your fantasy squad? Let's discuss!

Can Nigeria stun Bosnia and Iran to take the runner's up spot in Group F?
Can Nigeria stun Bosnia and Iran to take the runner's up spot in Group F?
Mike Hewitt

Although Group F looks fairly straight forward with Argentina advancing as group leaders, the coveted runner's up spot will be battled by Bosnia and Nigeria. If Nigeria can minimize the damage from the Argentina game and get a result off Bosnia and Herzegovina, then a place in the knock out phase could be on the cards. Nigeria does host some European talent so don't totally dismiss the African Cup of Nations Champions. Let's take a look at their Group F fixtures:

Group F:

June 16th - Iran

June 21st - Bosnia and Herzegovina

June 25th - Argentina

The good news for Nigeria is they play their easiest match first and could psychologically rattle the group with 3pts if Bosnia take a result off Argentina in the first match. On the flip side, if Argentina come into the last match with 2 wins, they may very well rest key players and allow Nigeria to nick a result and progress as runner's up. I wouldn't bank too much on either scenario so I'd be looking at bench alternatives only for Nigeria. Let's take a look at their World Cup roster:

Nigeria's World Cup Squad:

Goalkeepers:

Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide, Chigozie Agbim

Defenders:

Elderson Echiejile, Efe Ambrose, Godfrey Oboabona, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Kenneth Omeruo, Solomon Kwambe, Francis Benjamin, James Okwuosa, Joseph Yobo

Midfielders:

John Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi, Nnamdi Oduamadi, Sunday Mba, John Ogu, Fegor Ogude, Lukman Haruna, Joel Obi, Nosa Igiebor, Reuben Gabriel, Ejike Uzoenyi

Forwards:

Emmanuel Emenike, Victor Moses, Ahmed Musa, Ideye Brown, Victor Obinna

Obviously we can immediately pick out some names we recognize like John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses, but since neither set the Premier League on fire, we won't be relying on Nigeria for high attacking returns. Let's take a look at which players may represent some value to your squad:

Fantasy Players to Watch:

John Obi Mikel - Much more of a defensive midfielder for Chelsea than anything else, however he will have more freedom in Nigeria's central midfield this World Cup. Whether or not this makes him a more attractive fantasy option is debatable. At this point, Nigeria just has too many questions looming over them to make a solid investment, so Mikel looks a decent bench/rotation option should injury come into play.

Ogenyi Onazi - Mikel's central midfield partner and should switch off rotating between attacking and defensive duties. Based off of his price in the selected fantasy game, could represent a bit more of an attacking bench option for fantasy squads.

Victor Moses - Had a stunted season at Liverpool but impressed in a few games. His ability to cut in from the flank and unleash a fierce shot on target will be his biggest asset for fantasy managers. Hard not to see the youngster travel to this World Cup, but I wouldn't expect anything spectacular.

Emmanuel Emenike- After scoring two goals away to Ethiopia and securing Nigeria's fifth World Cup finals appearance, Emenike looks like Nigeria's most potent attacking threat. With pace and strength, Emenike will be tough for any opponent to handle. If Nigeria hope to upset Argentina and Bosnia, you can bet he will be heavily involved.

That wraps up Nigeria's World Cup fantasy prospects! Not a lot of names to consider because most of your budget will be going towards the big names from more established countries, but don't forget about bench options. With rotation and injury both likely for the group stages, be sure to have some solid starters ready to come on for your players in need!

Cheers!