Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr insists he is happy to accept the tag of underdogs ahead of the 2018 World Cup and insists his men will be ready for their opening game with Croatia.

 
The Super Eagles have not tasted victory since beating Poland in a friendly in March, having lost four and drawn one of their following five games.

Nigeria, who are priced at 3.50 to qualify from Group D, fell to their latest defeat at the hands of the Czech Republic on Wednesday after losing to England and drawing with Congo DR in their three World Cup warm-up games.

The West Africans aren’t expected to mount much of a challenge at the 2018 World Cup but Rohr insists that isn’t a concern.

Rohr’s men will kick off their World Cup campaign against Croatia on June 16 in Kaliningrad, before taking on Iceland and Argentina in Group D.

He is certain Nigeria will be raring to go for their opening game with Croatia and has backed his squad to “rise to the occasion”.

Rohr said: “We will take it one match at a time. I love this group because we know how to rise to the occasion together. Nigeria will be ready for Croatia.

“We are okay with the garb of the underdog. But the defeats have done something for us – we have our heads firmly on our shoulders and we are focused.

“Together, we have reviewed the matches and learnt so many lessons. We will approach the World Cup matches differently.”