Nigeria’s vice-captain Ogenyi Onazi could return to the side after being dropped for the opening defeat by Croatia. Oghenekaro Etebo scored an own goal in that match and could make way, while Ahmed Musa is also in contention.
Iceland could be without Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who sustained a muscle injury against Argentina. Rurik Gislason came on for Gudmundsson in that game, and may replace him in the starting line-up.
NIGERIA LINE UP
23 Francis Uzoho (Goalkeeper)
2 Brian Idowu (Defender)
6 Leon Balogun (Defender)
5 William Ekong (Defender)
22 Kenneth Omeruo (Defender)
11 Victor Moses (Midfielder)
8 Oghenekaro Etebo (Midfielder)
4 Wilfred Ndidi (Midfielder)
10 John Mikel Obi (Midfielder)
7 Ahmed Musa (Forward)
14 Kelechi Iheanacho (Forward)
ICELAND LINE UP
1 Hannes Þór Halldórsson (Goalkeeper)
2 Birkir Már Sævarsson (Defender)
18 Hörður Magnússon (Defender)
6 Ragnar Sigurðsson (Defender)
14 Kári Árnason (Defender)
17 Aron Gunnarsson (Midfielder)
10 Gylfi Sigurðsson (Midfielder)
8 Birkir Bjarnason (Midfielder)
19 Rúrik Gíslason (Midfielder)
22 Jón Daði Böðvarsson (Forward)
11 Alfreð Finnbogason (Forward)
Nigeria have the youngest squad on average at this World Cup, but the biggest concern heading into a crunch game with Iceland is that age-old problems remain. While it would be convenient to blame Nigeria’s defensive frailties in the defeat by Croatia on the relative inexperience of their squad, a weakness at set-pieces has long been the Super Eagles’ Achilles heel.
Since making their World Cup debut in 1994, 14 of the 27 goals they have conceded have come from a set-piece (52%), the worst percentage of any nation during that period, including an own goal from a corner in their group opener.
Conversely, organisation is very much Iceland’s strength, as their impressive draw with Argentina demonstrated. Expertly drilled and rigidly disciplined, they frustrated the South Americans while giving up few clear-cut chances on their World Cup debut.
Worryingly for Nigeria, Iceland also looked threatening with a direct, long-ball orientated game that could cause a discombobulated defence no end of trouble. A second defeat for Nigeria, and they are out.
It’s a game both teams will probably need to win to make the last 16, and Nigeria definitely can’t afford to lose it after opening with a defeat.