WORLD CUP 2018
*Says Group D with Nigeria tough, confident of qualification to knock out stage
By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Former Iceland, Chelsea and Barcelona striker, Eidur Gudjohnsen, has revealed that when the Super Eagles line up to take on the European nation at the World Cup 2018, over 8,000 of their travelling fans from home will be in the stand drumming support for them.
Nigeria is scheduled to play her second Group D game against Iceland at the 45,000-capacity Volgograd Arena in VolgogradÂ onÂ Friday, June 22, 2018.
While the bickering amongst the factions of the Nigerian football supporters is yet to abate, Gudjohnsen confirmed yesterday that theÂ 8,000 Iceland fans have already secured their tickets from FIFA.
Speaking at the opening of FIFA Football Park in Rostov-on-Don, one of the host cities of Russia 2018, the former Chelsea star admitted that the Group pairing involving his country Iceland, Nigeria, Croatia and Argentina was going to be a tough one for the two qualifiers for the knock out stage to emerge.
â€œWe have a tough group, but weâ€™re quietly confident,â€ observed Gudjohnsen whose country was one of the surprise semi finalists of the 2016 European Championship hosted by France.
Â â€œThe most important thing for the Iceland team is that they return home after the World Cup with their heads held high, no matter what the result is. We have a tough group, but weâ€™re quietly confident,â€ added Gudjohnsen as he kicked the official match ball of Russia 2018 around at the just opened Fan Park in Rostov-on-Don.
He expressed his happiness at been selected to be the guest star for the opening ceremony of the centre expected to cater for fans without tickets to the main arena but can still follow up matches live on giant screens at the Fan Park
â€œIâ€™m happy to be at this Football Park, which will also be the FIFA Fan Fest venue during the World Cup. As we can see, a lot of people are having fun here todayÂ Â (Sunday) and even more will enjoy it during the tournament. Iâ€™m sure that Icelandic fans, who will come here to support the team, will feel the same,â€ he noted with excitement.
With 74 days left until the start of the biggest football event on the planet, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Football Park continue its journey through Russia, giving an early taste of the tournament to fans in each of the host cities.
After the opening ceremony in Sochi last weekend with Portuguese FIFA Legend Nono Gomes part of the show, the opening of the Rostov-on-Don centre yesterday has added to the excitement being created for the biggest football event on the planet.
Nigeria is scheduled to open her Russia 2018 show with the game against CroatiaÂ onÂ June 16Â inÂ Kaliningrad. The third and last Group D game is against ArgentinaÂ onÂ Tuesday, June 26,Â 2018Â at the 68,000-capacity Saint Petersburg Stadium.