The Newcastle striker says "it's going to take our best game" for Nigeria to beat the Americans in Saturday's friendly.CHESTER, Pa. — As the World Cup draws nearer, the line between low-key friendlies and competitive clashes can be blurred. If Nigeria forward Shola Ameobi is right, Saturday's tune-up between his squad and the U.S. national team should be indicative of that escalating pressure.
"It's going to be volatile," Ameobi said. "It's our last game before entering the World Cup so we have to be really hitting top form. The fact that they're at home makes for a great atmosphere. It's going to take our best game to beat them, and that's what we'll have to bring, that's what we want to do — go into the World Cup on the back of a win.
"Obviously the U.S. are a great side and it's going to be tough for us. But we have to make sure we control the game the way we want to, and that's what we're focusing on."
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Nigeria on Tuesday played to a scoreless draw with fellow World Cup participant Greece at PPL Park, leaving coach Stephen Keshi disappointed by his team's slow start but encouraged by an energetic close to the match.
The Nigerians now travel to Jacksonville, Florida, to face the USA this weekend. After opening World Cup preparations with a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan, the Americans recorded a 2-1 victory against Turkey on Sunday in Harrison, New Jersey.
"I expect a good game from the United States," Keshi said. "(Jurgen) Klinsmann is going to have this German mentality that they're going to go all the way. ... I just want to see my players in better cohesion than I saw today. I know as we go along playing our friendly games, correcting the mistakes that we're making, it's going to come alive."
Added captain Joseph Yobo: "We know that we can do better. Hopefully we get our game plan and put it into place when we play the United States on Saturday. Credit to the United States — I know a couple of their players, they're a very good team, so it's going to be a very good test for us. It's going to be an exciting game, and hopefully we will raise our game."