In this feature, one Goal Nigeria reader grades the Super Eagles' players following their World Cup campaign in Brazil.
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Vincent Enyeama: 8 The Lille man was arguably at his best in the Super Eagles’ matches at the World Cup, save for his two errors that led to the team conceding in the matches against Argentina and France. He produced a series of outstanding saves to keep the team in the thick of things, little wonder he finished the tournament as the highest-ranked African player in the FIFA Castrol rankings. Overall, it was a great tournament for the veteran as he kept match commentators marvelling at his fantastic reflexes.
He might not have offered more going forward than Elderson, but he was reliable in defence, making important blocks and clearances, most notably against France to deny Paul Pogba a clear attempt on goal after Enyeama had spilled the ball in the six yard box. He also laid to rest the objections that were raised at the absence of veteran Taye Taiwo in the team.
Kenneth Omeruo: 8 What more can be said about a 20 year old that had a 100 per cent tackle success rate against a potent French team that had already scored eight goals in three matches leading to that encounter? He won 74 percent of his aerial duels in the tournament.
Joseph Yobo: 6 Finally getting his 100th cap for the Super Eagles, the team skipper produced a more mature showing in the team’s four matches than he did in his last match under Stephen Keshi 16 months ago. A momentary loss of concentration led to him having to chase after Antoine Griezmann in the dying minutes of the match against France, scoring an own goal in the process. Even though Omeruo took responsibility for most of the marking duties on the likes of Karim Benzema and Edin Dzeko, the 33 year old did well in winning a few aerial duels and tackles and also made important clearances.
Yobo | Rolled back the years
Efe Ambrose: 6.5 Carried out his defensive duties expertly, making several blocks especially against Argentina, not leaving much space for the opposition attackers to exploit on the right flank. Was also fantastic going forward with his clever cut-ins from the right flank to support the attackers.
John Obi Mikel: 4 Was expected by many to replicate his AFCON and Confederations Cup form, but the opposite was the case as the Chelsea man struggled to adapt to the pace of the team's matches, was guilty of losing possession rather too easily in his own half and was culpable for too many wayward passes.
Ogenyi Onazi: 8 The SS Lazio man continued in his development into a world-class combative midfielder with a tackle completion average of 3.3-per-match. These stats are higher than the likes of Paul Pogba, Luiz Gustavo and Sami Khedira.
The 21 year old was everywhere in the midfield, dispossessing and breaking down opposition attacks and also making few attacking forays into the defensive third of the opposition team. He also had to cover for the lacklustre performance of his midfield partner Mikel. His level of influence in the team's play was shown after he was substituted against France, as the team lost shape in the midfield.
Victor Moses: 4 Was one of the team’s best players leading to the tournament, but failed to stamp his feet in the first match against Iran and was substituted by the coach. Only came back to replace the injured Michael Babatunde in the starting line up against France, making a goal-line clearance in the match but again struggled to exert his influence on the proceedings.
Michael Babatunde: 7 The team's revelation at the tournament as he enticed and impressed the Super Eagles' fans with his silky skills and playmaking abilities when played in the hole behind the centre-forward Emmanuel Emenike. Proved the sceptics wrong as he took a few fine long-range shots and provided the assist for Ahmed Musa's first goal against Argentina.
Babatunde | Proved the doubters wrong
Ahmed Musa: 8 Finally living up to his potential, a few years after he became the darling of the nation in setting a new goalscoring record in the Globacom Premier League. The pacy forward bagged two goals against Argentina to further underline his importance to Keshi's team, proving his doubters wrong on the biggest possible stage. He also provided the assist for Emmanuel Emenike's disallowed goal againstFrance.
Osaze Odemwingie: 8 The prodigal son proved the Big Boss was right to take a risk on him with a fine all-round display in all of the team's four matches at the showpiece, scoring the lone goal against Bosnia-Herzegovina to ensure that the team stayed on the driving seat for a second round berth. He regularly helped out in defensive positions on either flank as well.
Emmanuel Emenike: 8 Worked his socks off to ensure that his teammates upfront could get the best possible support, drifting to the wings when necessary. Was a handful for all the opposition’s defence, providing two assists in the process and scored the controversially-disallowed goal against France by the linesman. His fine performances have led to reported interest from Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
Ramon Azeez: 4 Had very little impact against Iran and subsequently lost his place in the team, not to be seen again.
Michael Uchebo: 4 Struggled to maintain possession in his few minutes against Argentina, it was not a surprise that he was not called on again by the coach.
Shola Ameobi: 5 Kept possession well against Bosnia and also supported the attack after coming in as a substitute. Had little influence in the match against Iran, failing to win most of his aerial duels despite his height advantage.
Uche Nwofor: 3 Had little time to make an impact in the two matches that he came in as a late substitute.
Ejike Uzoenyi: 3 Failed to justify his inclusion in the team coming in to replace Babatunde against Bosnia.
By Ude Ikenna Ezekiel
All Stats via WhoScored.com
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