Norway v Nigeria @ Stade Auguste-Delaune II @8 p.m. on June 8
Before the start, it already looks very tough for the Falcons (38) as they prepare to battle Norway (12), South Korea (14), and France (4) in Group A.
The Nigerians are the least ranked in the group and recent results against the likes of China (16), Austria (23), and Canada (5) do not inspire confidence.
Former Sweden coach, Thomas Dennerby’s mandate from the Nigeria Football Federation will be an improvement from earlier tournaments but he agrees the task ahead is a tough one.
“We have a really tough group, no doubt about it. But I think we have a really good chance to have a good game against Norway and also against South Korea. And hopefully, if I can dream a little, three or four points when we come to the final match against France.”
If the Falcons can get a positive result against the Norwegians, then maybe they will make progress in France.
Current Form: Norway [W-L-W-W-W]; Nigeria [L-W-L-W-L]
Head to head
17/09/00 OLW Norway 3 – 1 Nigeria
06/06/95 WWC Norway 8 – 0 Nigeria
Prediction: Norway 3-1 Nigeria
Portugal v Netherlands @ Estadio Do Dragao @7:45 p.m. on June 9
The final of the inaugural UEFA Nations League concludes on Sunday with Portugal, led by the irrepressible Cristiano Ronaldo, as the current European champions against a resurgent Oranje of Netherlands, who last won a major tournament 21 years ago.
Will home advantage play a role or will VAR be decisive in which country wins this tournament for the very first time? At the start of the tournament, both Portugal and the Netherlands were not most pundits’ pick for the final but they have weathered their way through and are just 90 minutes away from the distinction of being the first winners.
Ronaldo says he wants to make up for the heartache of 2004 while the Oranje want a title to show they can actually, win things. Whose victory will be the greater?
Current Form: Portugal [W-D-D-D-D]; Netherlands [W-L-W-D-W]
Head to head
26/03/18 FRI Portugal 0 – 3 Netherlands
14/08/13 FRI Portugal 1 – 1 Netherlands
17/06/12 EUC Portugal 2 – 1 Netherlands
25/06/06 WOC Portugal 1 – 0 Netherlands
30/06/04 EUC Portugal 2 – 1 Netherlands
Prediction: Portugal 2-1 Netherlands
Nigeria v Zimbabwe @ Stephen Keshi Stadium @5 p.m. on June 8
It is almost two weeks to their opening encounter against Burundi and the Eagles will kick start the last leg of their preparation with a friendly match against Zimbabwe.
Gernot Rohr has revealed he will be giving minutes to players who have not played regularly for their European clubs while some fringe players will be put on to test their readiness for the AFCON. While the result of a the friendly match is not a major – the performance and reactions of the team can be an indicator of what to expect.
Rohr will hope the team shows confidence and teamwork.
Current Form: Nigeria [W-W-D-D-W]; Zimbabwe [L-W-W-L-D]
Head to head
01/02/14 ANC Zimbabwe 0 – 1 Nigeria
27/01/06 ACO Nigeria 2 – 0 Zimbabwe
07/10/05 WQA Nigeria 5 – 1 Zimbabwe
04/09/04 WQA Zimbabwe 0 – 3 Nigeria
Prediction: Nigeria 2-0 Zimbabwe
Akwa Utd v Enugu Rangers @Agege Stadium @7 p.m. on June 8
The Nigeria Professional Football League playoffs are in the third day with mixed results.
Akwa United have four points from their first two matches while Rangers have three, which makes the encounter a very dicey affair. The surety is that if the weather stays dry that Gbenga Ogunbote will send his team out to attack while Rafael Everton of Akwa will respond in kind.
Current Form: Akwa Utd [W-D-L-D-L]; Rangers [W-L-L-W-W]
Head to head
14/01/18 NPF Akwa Utd 2 – 0 Enugu Rangers
11/06/17 NPF Enugu Rangers 1 – 0 Akwa United
25/01/17 NPF Akwa United 0 – 0 Enugu Rangers
16/07/16 NPF Akwa United 2 – 3 Enugu Rangers
20/03/16 NPF Enugu Rangers 3 – 0 Akwa United
Prediction: Akwa Utd 2-3 Rangers