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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Steep Decline: Super Eagles Thrashed 4-0 By World Cup-bound Portugal

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A poor display by Super Eagles against Portugal last night explained in clear terms why Nigeria is not one of the 32 teams that will file out at the FIFA World Cup starting on Sunday in Qatar.

Two first half brace by Manchester United star, Bruno Fernandes and additional two goals in the second half by Goncalo Ramos and Joao Mario condemned Super Eagles to a humiliating 4-0 defeat against the Qatar-bound Portugal.

Despite playing the international friendly without their talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, who suffered stomach bug at training on Wednesday, Jose Peseiro’s wards were poor in every department.

The hosts were hardly troubled all through the 90 minutes of the near drab encounter.

What would have given the Super Eagles hope of a great comeback when they were two goals down was wasted by Emmanuel Dennis who bungled from the penalty spot in the 80th minute. Sadly, it was Captain, William Troost-Ekong who wanted to play the penalty before Dennis pushed himself to the spot.

The loss fired the Portuguese into increasing their goal haul to put a gloss to an impressive World Cup sending-off party inside the 50,000-capacity Estádio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon.

The only take away from the game was the encouraging performance of first timer, Bright Osayi-Samuel who  made his Super Eagles debut. His big day in the senior Nigerian team was however ruined by his handball inside the box that gave Portugal the chance to double their lead on 35 minutes from the penalty spot.

Portugal continued to create the better chances and even forced a big save from Francis Uzoho in the 73rd minute.

The best chance for Nigeria fell to substitute Samuel Chukwueze in the 71st minute, but he was denied a goal by goalkeeper Rui Patricio, who made himself big to block out the final shot.

Shortly after the game ended, watching Nigerian fans were embarrassed by the struggle between assistant coach Finidi George and Moses Simon for the jersey of aging Portuguese star Pepe.

It was the Nantes winger who eventually succeeded in exchanging his Nigerian jersey for the Portugal colour.

Super Eagles Grabs 31st Position In Latest FIFA Ranking

Three-time African champions, the Super Eagles of Nigeria maintained the same position in the latest monthly ranking released by the Federation of International Football Association, FIFA, on Thursday, August 25, 2022.

The Super Eagles, who were not in action in August remain in 31st position.

Jose Peseiro’s side also retained their fourth position in Africa.

The Terangha Lions of Senegal occupy the top spot on the continent with the Atlas Lions of Morocco and Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in second and third positions respectively.

There were no changes in the top 10 in the world as Brazil, Belgium, Argentina, France, England, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Denmark maintained their spots.

The Super Eagles will be in action on Tuesday, September 27 when they take on the Desert Foxes of Algeria in a friendly at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium, Oran.

Source: ThisDay

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