Two of Nigeria’s group opponents at this year’s World Cup, Argentina and Iceland have moved one step ahead of the Super Eagles in reaching their camp base at the host country, and the three-time African champions will follow behind 24 hours later.
While Nigeria’s team is scheduled to land on Russian soil from their pre-World Cup in Austria on Monday, Argentina and Iceland arrived at the weekend.
Iceland’s team, coached by Heimir Hallgrimsson, finalized their preparations (i.e. trainings and flight to Reykjavik among other things) for the global soccer showpiece with a 2-2 draw with Ghana last Thursday, with Kari Árnason and Alfreð Finnbogason scoring the goals for the team.
Iceland, playing as underdogs pulled off a major shock at the Euro tournament in 2016, where they beat England 2-1 en route to advancing to the quarterfinals in that competition, hope to cause more ripples at Russia 2018.
The Nordic nation has the least population of all the countries that will be playing in Russia this month, with an estimated number of 335,000 people.
Argentina also departed for Russia Sunday afternoon, ahead of which West Ham United midfielder, Manuel Lanzini, who suffered a ruptured anterior knee ligament injury in training on Friday, was replaced by River Plate star, Enzo Pérez
English Premier League stars Marcos Rojo, Nicolás Otamendi, Sergio Aguero and Willy Caballero plus Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín and Ángel Di María were part of the travelling party.
Nigeria will play Iceland in their second game of the tournament on June 22 at the Volgograd Arena after they had played Croatia, while they face Argentina in their final group game.
On the other hand, Nigeria’s Eagles will now hit their World Cup training base camp late on Monday after departing Austria by 5pm local time.
The Eagles will train at Essentuki, which is down south of Russia and almost sharing borders with Georgia, but will commence drills on Tuesday, as they are billed arrive their base camp at 10pm.
They are officially scheduled to have their first training by 4pm local time on Tuesday, which is 2pm in Nigeria, and the session will be for an hour and open to the public.
“We leave Austria by 5pm on Monday and will arrive late at our camp,” disclosed Nigeria’s national team spokesman, Toyin Ibitoye.