Craven Cottage, London
After a month’s rain in 48 hours, the heavens have mercifully held off before Nigeria grapple with Scotland in their World Cup warm-up match here in London.
Stephen Keshi will be looking to audition several potential members of his final squad in the first of three friendlies before they tackle Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran in Brazil, while Gordon Strachan is planning his assault on Euro 2016 and Scotland’s first qualifier, a tall test away to Germany this autumn.
A contrast in styles should be useful preparation for Nigeria’s Brazilian adventure, while Scotland manager Strachan is also hoping to benefit from the 90 minutes, explaining, “A good team is a good team.”
The supporters have wended their way along the river Thames through the tranquility of the historic Bishops Park.
Outside on the Hammersmith pkv games online Road, the hum of Nigerian drums and the roar of their trumpets mixed with the bagpipes and good-natured singing of the Tartan Army. We are all set for a fascinating friendly.
Nigeria: Ejide, Yobo, Echiejile, Obi, Egwuekwe, Odunlami, Uzoenyi, Ameobi, Uchebo, Gabriel, Babatunde.
Scotland: McGregor, Hutton, Robertson, Greer, Hanley, Morrison, Mulgrew, Brown, Naismith, Maloney, Anya.
Falcao & Suarez risk World Cup KO
Will the first World Cup in South America since 1978 be missing South America’s top marksmen?
News that Luis Suarez has had emergency meniscus surgery was shocking, given that the recovery time is between three and ten weeks. Images of the Uruguayan star being carried out of hospital in a wheelchair so close to the World Cup was painful viewing for soccer fans worldwide.
While Suarez and the Uruguayan F.A. are insisting he will be ready to play in Brazil, the fear is that even if he does, he will not be the almost unstoppable goalscorer he has been in the Premier League this season.
Even England, Italy and Costa Rica, who have been agonising about how to stop Suarez in the first round in Group D, will feel his absence would diminish the competition.
If it is the World Cup, we want to see the world’s hottest players there, and no striker is hotter right now than Suarez, whose 31 league goals for Liverpool bagged him both the PFA and Football Writers’ Player of the Season award.
Colombia’s El Tigre Radamel Falcao also risks missing the big show, having been out of action since January after tearing knee ligaments playing for Monaco in a French cup tie. Last summer Falcao was Europe’s most sought after striker and with nine goals in 13 qualifiers, he bears his World Cup hopes on his shoulders.
Falcao posted an Instagram of himself on the 13th of May, boasting of running 9.4km and swimming 1.5km as he battles to make the 2nd of June deadline for Jose Pekerman’s 23-man squad.
Los Cafeteros were given a send-off in Bogota on Friday night in front of 30,000 fans at El Campin stadium. Next they fly to Buenos Aires, where they take on Senegal on the 31st of May and Jordan on the 6th of June in friendly action before going to their base in Cotia on the outskirts of Sao Paolo. Falcao, for now, remains in Spain continuing to recuperate.
For the sake of the tournament, let us hope they both win their races against time.