Nigeria will improve with experience, says coach

Nigeria will improve with experience, says coach

Nigeria paid the price for the inexperience in their squad when they were eliminated from the World Cup in heartbreaking style by Argentina on Tuesday, but defeat in St Petersburg will serve as a valuable lesson, their coach Gernot Rohr said.

Nigeria, who have the youngest team at the tournament, came into the match needing to avoid defeat to hopefully progress to the knockout rounds and, but for Marcos Rojo's late strike, would have held on for a deserved draw instead of losing 2-1.

"It's a big disappointment," Rohr told reporters. "My team gave their best. They played a very good second half and missed qualifying by just a few minutes. These kind of matches build the character of the team.

"In the end, Argentina were pushing, pushing, pushing. And they have great players. This is championship level and we are not ready for that now. It was also down to a little bit of luck and we didn't have it today."

"It is what it is. It just wasn't to be," Nigeria's skipper Jon Obi Mikel said. "It's a young team and in four years most of the players will be ready for this tournament.

"We have a group of boys who want to improve... and this is very good for Nigerian football."

Rohr said the players who had taken Nigeria to the brink of the knockout stages would show much greater maturity at the next World Cup.

"We have a very young team who lack some experience, but in four years we'll be very strong," he added. "I'd like to continue with this team because I have a good feeling about them.

"It's a good cocktail of usefulness and passion and we have discipline. We're missing experience and in the last minute conceded that goal, but this is learning."