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Wenger: Eagles’ ‘team spirit’ will take them to second round

Wenger: Eagles’ ‘team spirit’ will take them to second round
May 30
16:27 2014

Arsene Wenger has tipped Nigeria to reach the second round of the World Cup, alongside Argentina in Group F.

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The Arsenal manager, one of the most respected voices in world football, expects the Super Eagles to join La Albiceleste into the knockout stage because of the team’s spirit.

Wenger expects Argentina to win the group, which also has Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“I think that Nigeria might qualify for the second stage,” Wenger wrote in his Eurosport World Cup preview.

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“They really made a good impression on me during the Africa Cup of Nations. They seem to have a really good team spirit, which is not always easy for African teams. They have less star players. They have a real team, and it’s been a while since that happened for them.”

The Frenchman paid kudos to Argentina coach, Alejandro Sabella, who he said has done better than former manager, Diego Maradona, in his selection of a balanced side despite the array of impressive attacking talent at his disposal.

He expects Argentina to do well playing in South America, where they would be buoyed by the rivalry with neighbours Brazil and better the achievement of Maradona whose team lost to Germany 4-0 in the quarter final of 2010 World Cup.

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“Normally Argentina should qualify thanks to their offensive potential. You might even say that Argentina have too many good players in attack,” Wenger wrote.

“It’s not easy to be a manager in Argentina, because it’s hard to build a balanced team without leaving some indisputable players off the field. They have Higuain, Messi, Aguero, and Tevez, who didn’t even make the final squad. They have so many forwards; it will be very hard to keep a balanced team. It’s what happened in South Africa.

“Still, Sabella’s team seems more balanced than Maradona’s. They can’t make a mess of this World Cup; Argentina just can’t. The two main rivals in South America are Brazil and Argentina. There can’t be a World Cup in Brazil and Argentina be humiliated and not have a great tournament. They will have a huge pressure on them.”

Nigeria and Argentina will meet for the fourth time in the World Cup on June 25, 2014 in Porto Alegre.

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The Super Eagles will open their campaign against Iran on June 16 in Curitiba before taking on Bosnia in Cuiaba on June 21.

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