Sodje to have the last laugh
By Mark Buckingham. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
NIGERIAN defender Efe Sodje claims The Super Eagles will have the last laugh when they face England in the World Cup finals.
The Crewe Alexandra stopper believes the threat posed by his nation is not being taken seriously enough.
The Super Eagles are rated the underdogs in the 'Group of Death' and are not fancied to trouble the heavyweights of Argentina, England and Sweden.
However, Sodje thinks that the English media are frightened about the prospect of Sven Goran Eriksson's side locking horns with Nigeria on June 12.
Sodje, who is one of the most easily recognisable footballers owing to the bandana he wears, has stoked up the war of words by insisting Nigeria have the quality players to match England.
"The English press is scared stiff of The Super Eagles but must cover it up to give its national team the right psychological balance before, and during, the World Cup," Sodje told the African press.
"If they are talking about David Beckham and Michael Owen, then we should also talk about Jay Jay Okocha and Julius Aghahowa.
"These are some of the best players in Europe and can hold their own when it matters most.
"Let the English press say what they want. We know what we can do. I am positive that Nigeria will laugh at the end of the day.
"England can go on and laugh at us now but we will see who will laugh last."
The imposing centre half also believes that the biggest battle is in the mind games played out off the pitch.
He added: "Football, and the World Cup for that matter, is psychological warfare, which the Western world uses well to its advantage.
"Sometimes, a match is won off the pitch after an opponent has been psychologically brought to its knees."