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Nigeria Vs. USa       The Super Eagles of Nigeria lost 2-1 to their American counterparts, courtesy of a brace from Jozy Altidore, in their final warm-up game before the World Cup commences next week. The brace ended Altidore’s six-month goal drought for his country. Altidore grabbed his first goal just after 30 minutes, with an easy tap-in from Fabian Johnson’s cross, and ensured the United States finished their FIFA World Cup preparations with three wins in three games, with his second in the second-half. In contrast, the Super Eagles go into the World Cup without a win in their three friendly games, picking up draws against European sides, Scotland and Greece before today’s loss. Victor Moses won a late penalty which he converted to reduce the deficit and save Nigerians some blushes. Stephen Keshi made three changes to the team that drew against 2004 European Champions Greece, with Joseph Yobo, Juwon Oshaniwa and Ramon Azeez coming in for the injured trio, Ahmed Musa, Kenneth Omeruo and Elderson Echiejile. Elderson Echiejile was ruled out of the World Cup on Friday, prompting Keshi to call-up Ejike Uzoenyi, who was one of the seven players dropped from the 30-man provisional squad, as a replacement. Shola Ameobi was also handed a start in place of Emmanuel Emenike. The Super Eagles started off better than the Americans but became poor as the game wore on. John Obi Mikel and Ogenyi Onazi were inefficient against the United States’ 3-man midfield of Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman as the Americans took control of the game. Their domination and hard work was rewarded with the opening goal after 32 minutes when full-back, Fabian Johnson squared the ball for Altidore to pass into the net.  Altidore doubled the USA’s lead in the second half, racing onto Michael Bradley’s exquisite pass from midfield, displacing Nigeria’s captain, Joseph Yobo with some body movement before beating Vincent Enyeama at the near post. In the 82nd minute, Victor Moses dribbled his way into United States’ defence before he was chopped down by USA defender, Matt Besler to earn his side a penalty. He picked himself up and calmly slotted the ball past Tim Howard, who was celebrating his 100th cap for the United States’ Men’s soccer team, in United States’ goal. The game was initially planned to be the final warm-up game for both teams before flying out to Brazil for the World Cup. However, the Americans have announced a date with the Belgians a few days before their first World Cup game against Ghana. Nigeria will jostle with Iran on the same day. The Super Eagles’ dismal performance heading to the World Cup finals is a major worry for the fans. In 1998, they had a similar run prior to the World Cup; Netherland humbled Nigeria 5-1 in their final warm-up game. Interestingly, the Super Eagles produced a much better display in their opening fixture against Spain, usurping the reigning European and World Cup Champions 3-2, courtesy of a screamer from Sunday OIiseh.  The Super Eagles went on to beat Bulgaria before drawing with Paraguay in their last group fixture to finish the group stage unbeaten with 7 points from a possible 9. However, they couldn’t reproduce the same form in the round of 16 and were thrashed and annihilated 4-1 by Denmark. Stephen Keshi will be hoping his wards can garner some inspiration from them and be charged when they face the Iranians next Monday. NIGERIA SQUAD AGAINST USA: NIGERIA: Victor Enyeama – Efe Ambrose, Jospeh Yobo, Godffrey Oboabona, Juwon Oshaniwa – Mikel Obi (Gabriel Reuben ’46), Ogenyi  Onazi, Ramon Azeez (Michael Uchebo ’74) –Victor Moses, Osaze Odemwingie (Michael Babatunde ’46), Shola Ameobi (Emmanuel Emenike ’74) UNITED STATES: Tim Howard – Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, DeMarcus Beasley (Timothy Chandler ’75) – Kyle Beckerman (Mikkel Diskerud ’72), Jermaine Jones – Alejandro Bedoya (Graham Zusi ’60), Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey (Chris Wondolowski ’88)-Jozy Altidore (Omar Gonzalez ’80)  

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This article was first published on 9th June 2014


Arinze Ude is a PhD Student at the University of the West of England Bristol, UK, where he's exploring on the mechanisms of donor cell leukaemia. He shares his deep thoughts on his blog and the Naked Convos. He is keen to promote personal development of the Nigerian youth via thought-provoking articles.

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