Tianjin Teda of China midfielder, John Mikel Obi has declared that the underdog tag Nigeria has in Group D at this year’s World Cup will be to the Super Eagles’ advantage when action begins in Russia.
The Eagles’ captain says he is happy that Nigeria is the lowest ranked team from the group in FIFAS’s monthly ratings, all of which he believes will take pressure off the lads when they go out for their first game against Croatia on June 16.
The former Lyn Oslo of Norway and Chews lea of England star said he is happy with the underdog tag of the Eagles, who he recounted many critics did not even expect to qualify.
Mikel and his colleagues are in the same group with Argentina for the fifth time in six World Cup appearances.
The two-time world champions have beaten Nigeria four times at the World Cup, with the Eagles losing by the odd goal in each of the matches.
They will also face a tough European pair in Croatia and Iceland in the group, but the skipper said he is happy people have written them off to reach the knockout stages.
Ahead of it all, Mikel says he loves going to Russia without any weight on his shoulder, as he believes the Eagles now have the chance of playing spoiler to big teams in their group.
Mikel expatiated: “When you look at the group I’d say we are more than happy for people to write us off and very happy to be the underdogs.
“Honestly, people didn’t expect us to qualify but we are off to Russia and now it’s all about the rankings.
“When you look at the group I’d say we are more than happy for people to write us off and very happy to be the underdogs.
“It takes the pressure off the shoulders of our young squad and we can go about our World Cup with humility, which is perfectly fine. Football is played on the pitch and not by rankings or permutations.”