World Cup Group F preview: Nigeria v Bosnia-Herzegovina

Nigeria take on Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba on Sunday, June 22, from 8am AEST.

Head to head

Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina have never versed each other in international competition.

The game

Both teams will be in need of a victory after being unable to secure maximum points in their respective opening games in Group F.

Bosnia-Herzegovina will be the favourites to take the win when they face the Super Eagles, following an impressive performance against a star-studded Argentina squad on June 16.

Nigeria's 0-0 draw with Iran did no favours in suggesting that the African side would be capable of mounting a challenge for qualification, however, Bosnia-Herzegovina will need to be disciplined at the back to hold off a Nigeria side that knows this is a must-win match.

The big issue

The main issue facing both teams is their capability to convert chances into goals.

When Bosnia-Herzegovina took on a packed Argentina defence last week, there were very few goal-scoring opportunities. Against Nigeria those chances should come more regularly and must be taken.

One player who will be directly involved in any forward movement of the ball is 21-year-old Muhamed Besic. His distribution from the Bosnia-Herzegovina midfield against the Argentines was effective and if he can have the confidence to do so again, alongside Miralem Pjanic, then a win is on the cards.

Nigeria's main issue against Iran was breaking through a defence with no recognisable star players, and that same struggle is likely to present itself against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Even with 69% possession against Iran, the Super Eagles showed that they are creatively weak and will need to improve on their movement in the final-third if they stand a chance of making it past the group stage.

The game breaker

Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Edin Dzeko was unable to find the net against Argentina, but the Manchester City striker will fancy his chances on Sunday. He'll be the focus of the Nigerian defence so if he can exploit that, chances will open up for his team-mates.

For Nigeria it is Ogenyi Onazi. No Nigerian midfielder had a better passing accuracy than Onazi (82%) against Iran, and the defensive midfielder will be a key player in turning defence into attack for the Super Eagles.

Prediction: Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0 Nigeria

Nigeria will struggle to find any goal-scoring opportunities against Bosnia-Herzegovina and will be unable to cope with the attacking options of their opponents.