World Cup 2018: 5 Russia-bound teams and their squad lists
It is less than a month to the global sporting fiesta, that is the FIFA World Cup and already, the anticipation and expectations are beginning to overtake every other consideration.
With most of the major leagues winding down this weekend and some of the leagues going on a break in December-January, like the Swedish Allsvenskan, all eyes have switched to the 32 qualified countries and what they are looking to do at the Mundial.
This week, a number of the nations going to Russia released their preliminary lists and in some cases like Brazil and Sweden, the final 23-man squad.
In this article, an in-depth look will be taken at the team sheets and reasons behind the selections made by 5 countries:
The Super Eagles had a near-flawless qualification for the World Cup and alongside Croatia and World cup debutants, Iceland, the Nigerian team will fancy its chances of progressing to the next round in Group D behind or even ahead of favorites, the Albiceleste of Argentina.
The team's manager, Gernot Rohr has named a preliminary 30-man squad with little major changes as the 64-year-old German tactician has kept faith with a majority of the squad that qualified the team for the finals.
Top scorer in the Nigerian Premier League, Junior Lokosa of Kano Pillars who has hit an incredible 18 goals in just 20 games has been called up for the preliminary squad while there has been a surprising call-up for Simeon Nwankwo who has hit 7 goals for relegation-threatened Serie A side Crotone is also in the frame.
The final 23-man list is not expected to contain many surprises as the team pretty much picks itself, the only area of the team that is still open for debate is the goalkeeping position as four rather uninspiring candidates (Dele Ajiboye, Francis Uzoho, Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa) compete for the number one spot.
With a team less talented than the previously heralded generations which featured at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, the present Nigerian side is more of a solid, workman-like squad which will look to be defensively strong while utilizing the pace of Premier League wingers; Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) and Victor Moses (Chelsea) to hit on the counter.