USA vs. Nigeria: Latest Form Guide and Early Predictions

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2014

United States' Fabian Johnson (23) is congratulated by Clint Dempsey, right, and and Jozy Altidore (17) after scoring a goal on Turkey in the first half of an international soccer friendly, Sunday, June 1, 2014, in Harrison, N.J. The U.S. won 2-1. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Jurgen Klinsmann and Stephen Keshi will each head to Jacksonville's EverBank Field this weekend hoping to end their World Cup warm-up on a positive note as the United States take on Nigeria in Florida.

The USA line up in Group G of the Brazil tournament against Germany, Portugal and Ghana, while the Super Eagles have the decidedly easier task of topping Group F ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran, and with pool favourites Argentina.

Saturday's fixture may not have a lot on the line in terms of risk, but this will be the last chance either manager has in assessing his line-ups ahead of this summer's drama, with form guide and predictions discussed below.


Form Guide

CHESTER, PA - JUNE 3: Fans cheer after the match between Greece and Nigeria during an international friendly match at PPL Park on June 3, 2014 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The match ended in a tie, 0-0. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Nigeria's main issue of late has been finding the back of the net, and while four clean sheets in their last five matches speaks highly of a stingy defence, the team as a whole looks less impressive when one considers that three of those results were 0-0 stalemates.

Keshi is more than aware of the deficiencies that exist in his squad, too, speaking in the wake of their most recent goalless result against Greece on Tuesday, per BBC Sport's Oluwashina Okeleji:

We will always have very difficult games but the motivation will be to do a lot better than we managed in our last couple of games.

The truth is we didn't play our game. The importance of a friendly game is to know your weakness and what needs improvement. What I found out is that we were not able to keep the ball in our possession. The whole idea was to control the game.

Klinsmann's men, meanwhile, were free-scoring in World Cup qualification. One would certainly have an argument in saying that the level of competition in CONCACAF is far inferior to the best they'll face in a World Cup, it still helps morale to be so prolific in the build-up to a major tournament.

That increase in competition has been evident since the USA's place in Brazil was sealed, too, with the team failing to score in three of their last seven games.

That being said, a two-match winning streak at present would see the Americans come into Saturday's match on a high, and the hosts will feel upbeat about their chances of heading to Rio de Janeiro with a third in succession under their belt.



Super Eagles Fail to Take Flight Once Again

CHESTER, PA - JUNE 3:  Victor Moses #11 of Nigeria kicks the ball away from Ioannis Fetfatzidis #18 of Greece during an international friendly match at PPL Park on June 3, 2014 in Chester, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

As aforementioned, the attacking ranks of Nigeria have been far from firing form of late, and despite seeing out a 2-2 draw against Scotland in late May, there's not a lot of fluidity in Keshi's front line.

BT Sport's Ian Darke argues that the USA's change to a diamond formation of late could see Klinsmann's side left exposed at the back, however, giving this weekend's visitors a little more promise for their trip to the States:

However, with some debate surrounding which players make up their best attacking combination, Keshi has failed to find any cemented partnership, or tactic, that works smoothly in attack, and it would be unsurprising that the Super Eagles go back-to-back games without scoring.


USA End World Cup Preparations with Aplomb

But it won't be another 0-0 draw that the USA have to endure in Jacksonville, and we're backing the home team to prevail in Florida, buoyed by their last outing, a 2-1 win over Turkey.

Richard Drew/Associated Press

In that display, the United States' stars looked free to express themselves while not leaving too many open doors at the back, but it will once again be their higher-profile figures who need to shine.

Bundesliga-based Fabian Johnson and Seattle talisman Clint Dempsey made the difference in front of goal on that occasion, and the settled climate will undoubtedly be of some advantage to the hosts, too.