Keshi: Why Nigeria could not defeat Iran
We played very well in the first half but lost our shape in the second half.”
To Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, Nigeria's lackluster performance in World Cup Group F match with the lowly rated Iran on Monday was down to lack of inspiration by the Nigerian team.
has blamed a lack of inspiration for his team's goalless draw with Iran in their first match at the on-going FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Keshi told FIFA.COM that his boys dominated the first half of the match but lost inspiration in the second half.
“We played very well in the first half. The forwards were very active and they had a couple of chances to score, though we couldn't put them away. We lost our shape in the second half,” he said. “I felt we could have won the game but we were lacking a bit of inspiration on the pitch.”
Keshi's statement that the Eagles played better in the first half may cause some observers to question the coach's substitutions in the second half.
Already, former Eagles captain, Austin Okocha, faulted the coach's tactics and substitutions during the match.
“He was not patient and I expected that he'll leave his creative players on the pitch to create chances for the team but that was not to be,” Okocha, who was an analyst on Supersports, said.
“In as much as I want to be positive regarding the Eagles this result doesn't give me anything to think about because we were poor.
“Keshi didn't do enough with this team because he was not patient and I hold him for this. You could see that the introduction of Osaze Odemwingie brought sparkle into the team but it was not just enough,” he added.
Apart from criticising his team's second half performance, Keshi also commended the Iranians for having a good game on the night.
“All credit to Iran,” he said. “They stuck to their game plan and were able to put it into practice from start to finish.”
The Nigerian Super Eagles have now gone nine FIFA World Cup games without a single win, with their last victory coming in France 98.
The Eagles now have a herculean task to qualify from Group F as they face Bosnia on Saturday in their next match before a final group game against one of the tournament favourites, Argentina.