Nigeria’s World Cup preparations took another hit on Wednesday, as they lost 1-0 to a Czech Republic side which failed to qualify for the finals in Russia.
Gernot Rohr’s men could take some positives away from their 2-1 defeat to England on Saturday, but there were few four days later, as Tomas Kalas’ first-half opener secured a slender victory for the Czechs, who were thrashed 4-0 by Australia on Friday.
At no point in the first half did Nigeria appear to be in the ascendancy and, shortly after surviving a scare, they deservedly found themselves trailing in the 25th minute – Kalas scuffing in from close range after Francis Uzoho parried Tomas Soucek’s header right to him.
The closest Nigeria came to levelling before the break was Wilfred Ndidi’s 30-yard drive, which was brilliantly tipped around the post by Tomas Vaclik in the Czech goal.
Although a downpour briefly interrupted play in the early stages of the second half, Nigeria played with more intent after half-time and went close in the 63rd minute, as John Obi Mikel saw a header saved by Vaclik.
Despite Nigeria’s efforts and attack-minded approach, a late equaliser never arrived, consigning them to a second successive defeat in their World Cup preparation games.