Portuguese coach writes off Nigeria's chances of reaching World Cup knock-out stage

PORTUGAL's head coach Fernando Santos has written off Nigeria’s chances of advancing to the knockout stage of the 2018 World Cup saying the Super Eagles like other African teams will struggle to make it out of their groups.


Nigeria's Super Eagles were the first African side to qualify for the World Cup ahead of the continents four other representatives Senegal, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. Morocco play in Group B alongside Portugal, Spain and Iran while the Nigeria face Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in Group D and Mr Santos said he does not feel either side will progress from their respective groups.


Mr Santos said: “Morocco and Nigeria will not have it easy in their respective groups as they face top footballing sides and others. I think no African country would scale through the group stage."


"For me, the favourites are Brazil, Germany, Spain, Argentina and France. I say this due to the enormous strength in depth they have and the extraordinary quality of their teams, in addition to their experience on the big stages and success."


He added that his team Portugal may not be among the favourites but said they will give a good account of themselves and will be hard to beat. Currently European champions, Portugal have struggled for form lately, losing 0-3 to the Netherlands in their most recent friendly match.


"We know that we’re not the favourites and we accept the favouritism of the other teams but that doesn’t mean we don’t have ambition and the clear goal of going into each match to win. I don’t have the intention of thinking we’re better than everyone else, but we believe greatly in our quality and know we’ll be difficult to beat,” Mr Santos added.