Group B: Nigeria

Nigeria actually qualified by tricking FIFA President Sepp Blatter via email into thinking that he would be rewarded handsomely by the deposed King of Nigeria if he gave them a World Cup bid along with his credit card and social security number.  In all seriousness, do those scams actually work anymore? Like, is there some simpleton clicking through his email on a mundane Wednesday at the office when suddenly he gets an email from King Chiwelte Okoya IV asking him for a small sum, which he will then repay tenfold in gold boullion? JACKPOT!! Or better yet, the guy who thinks that Bill Gates is going to give him $20 for every person he forwards this e-mail to because Microsoft wants more “exposure”. HOW DID HE GET MY E-MAIL ADDRESS? HE’S PROBABLY REWARDING ME BECAUSE WINDOWS 7 WAS MY IDEA. You’re a complete jackass who deserves to lose his kid’s college fund if you fall for those e-mails…except for the one from Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, United Nations President. That one’s legit. He just authorized a payment of 10.3 million Euros to me as compensation for…well, I’m not really sure why but when THE UNITED NATIONS PRESIDENT E-MAILS YOU, YOU FUCKING DO WHAT HE SAYS. God some people are such suckers.

Nickname: Super Eagles. That’s so Nigeria, always trying to one-up the United States.

Best Player: Joseph Yobo, CB, Everton

Outlook: Like Ghana and Ivory Coast, things were shaping up for Nigeria to make a deep run on their home continent until their star player got hurt. John Obi Mikel of Chelsea was the Super Eagles’ rock in the midfield, as he played the hard-nosed defense that has made him successful in the Premiership and also emerged as the team’s top playmaker on offense.  Now that he’ll miss the tournament, Nigeria must rely on a stingy defense, which allowed just five goals in 12 qualifying matches. Their offense never really gelled and they struggled to score throughout qualification, but they do have several very talented strikers, most especially Obafemi Martins who has shown a scoring touch for clubs in Italy (Inter), England (Newcastle) and Germany (Wolfsburg). They also have Everton striker Yakubu, who is recovering from injury, and winger Victor Obinna, a 23-year old currently on loan to Inter Milan who could be an ace up the sleeve of manager Shaibu Amodo. Defensively, they’re led by keeper Vincent Enyeama, one of the top players in the Israeli league…for what it’s worth. Strong defensive midfielders and an athletic back line including Yobo will make goals hard to come by for Group B rivals South Korea and Greece.

Most Famous Citizen: Seal! The greatest pop singer of all time. I’d put Kiss from of a Rose and Amazing up against any artist’s top 2, ever. Oh AND he’s married to Heidi Klum. AND his name means “God is Victorious” (I thought it just mean large marine mammal). Seal gets an honorary spot in my League of Champions, right next to Mark Wahlberg and Sanka from Cool Runnings.

Prediction: Thanks to their defense and a couple of weak opponents,  Nigeria should be able to weather the injury to Mikel and make it out of the group stage. After that, anything can happen with the Super Eagles, who are as inconsistent and mercurial as they come. A likely second round matchup against equally temperamental France or Mexico would give them a chance to advance to the quarterfinals.

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