Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has said while they keep working on defending set pieces, the team has no fixed worries about dead ball situations.
Speaking in a press conference on Monday evening ahead of the Group D deciding game against Argentina on Tuesday, Rohr dismissed suggestions that difficulty in defending free kicks was critically peculiar to his team.
“Set Set pieces are scored everywhere, it is not only against us. In our friendly game against Argentina in Krasnodar, they scored with set piece when there was a misunderstanding between our keeper and the assistant referee and he handled the ball outside his box. But we also scored Argentina through a set piece. Iheanacho took that free kick and I think it was a fantastic performance.”
“I have seen many goals scored through set pieces in this competition. It’s not only African teams that concede goals through free kicks. European countries are also affected. It’s virtually all countries. “
In the history of the World Cup, Nigeria had lost to Argentina mostly through free kick. It accounted for Cannigia’s two goals in the 1-2 defeat in USA ‘94 while the lone goal losses at Korea/Japan 2002 headed in by Batistuta and that of Gabriel Heinze in South Africa 2010 were by corner kicks. Messi’s goal as well as the winning goal in the 3-2 defeat of Nigeria in Brazil 2014 were also scored through set pieces.
It has also been pointed out that Nigeria conceded goals in their preparatory friendlies mostly through corner kicks, but Rohr has assured that those difficulties have been well noted and being worked upon.
“We are working at it. There will always be corner kicks and free kicks in football. Set pieces will be defended well and the team will also be very offensive. I only hope we don’t concede a penalty because it’s not very good that we have conceded two penalties in two matches.”