5 Players who stood out for Nigeria in Russia

Like their four African counterparts, Nigeria's 2018 World Cup campaign failed to survive the group stages.

Gernot Rohr's wards compromised their chances of progress with a lethargic opening day defeat to Croatia, but they then rallied to a stirring 2-0 win over Iceland -- a team that England, Portugal and Argentina had struggled to beat in recent times.

Even in defeat to Argentina in the final group game, the Super Eagles still showed what they are capable of, and if they had only taken their chances, the dream could still very much be alive.

Here are five players who stood out in Nigeria's roller-coaster campaign ...

At 19, with less than five international appearances under his belt, and even less at senior club level, Uzoho was as rookie as rookie gets. In expectation of throwing him into the World Cup fray, Rohr sent goalkeeper trainer Enrico Pionetti to work with the youngster during the course of the season, and let him play in goal through all the preparatory games.

Even then, there was still some apprehension about how this teenager would fare against some of the best forwards in world football.

In the end, he handled himself admirably, did not make an significant error of note, and actually made at least three key saves; two them against Argentina, including one when Gonzalo Higuain was through on goal, and a fingertip to divert Lionel Messi's free-kick onto the post.

If there is one thing the young goalkeeper needs to work on, it would be his distribution. He completed just over 48 percent of his passes.

But one thing is clear, Rohr has unearthed a gem in Uzoho. Now, the Aspire Academy graduate just needs to find a team in Europe that will guarantee him regular playing time, and continue working on his game. As it stands, the Super Eagles number one shirt is off the market.

Left to Nigeria fans, Kenneth Omeruo would have been watching the World Cup from a beach somewhere.

Once heralded as the next big thing, Omeruo made an early international debut, then proceeded to rack up more caps in three years than most Nigeria players of legendary status before him.

However, his career hit a bad patch two years ago and he struggled to dig himself out of the rut. But dig he did. Omeruo's confidence may have flagged at some point, but his basic tools remained and his talent did not wane. Instead, he continued to hone his craft in Turkey, and by the time the World Cup rolled around, the 25-year-old was like a finely tuned machine just revving to go.

All of that hard work showed in the games against Iceland and then Argentina, where he mostly smothered Messi, bar one moment when the little genius got away from him to score a goal that few defenders in the world could have stopped.

With Rohr now effectively settled on a back three, Omeruo's pace and aerial strength should be a critical part of Nigeria's defence going forward.

Like Omeruo, Musa had been written off by Super Eagles fans and media alike, with many questioning why and how he even made the World Cup squad.

By far the biggest grouse about Musa's style was his inability to cross a football, something that had been a staple of Nigerian wingers and which players like Adokiye Amiesimaka, Finidi George and Emmanuel Amunike excelled at. Even in the national team, Musa's stock had plummeted to the point where he was third in line behind Moses Simon and Alex Iwobi.

But the forward re-announced himself with two strikes against Iceland, goals which reignited the Super Eagles' World Cup ambitions, and leading to posters of "Ahmed Musa for President" back home in Nigeria.

Millions of Nigerian fans had no clue who Tyronne Ebuehi was before the World Cup. There are millions still who will be unable to tell Ebuehi from Adam if he were to cross the street in front of them. But one thing they will recognise is his name.

The defender not only excelled in the warm-up matches, but came on for just one game at the World Cup -- against Iceland -- and wormed his way into the hearts of Nigerians with his positive play.

Ebuehi's 45 minutes included completing 21 of 22 passes, a 95.5 percent average, and winning all four of the tackles he attempted, not to mention creating two chances.

It was enough to get Rohr pilloried for not bringing him on to batten down the hatches against Argentina. And what's more, he can play as both right- and left-back.

If there is one player who should be voted MVP of Nigeria's World Cup campaign, Etebo would be it.

After Ogenyi Onazi lost his place in a first half horror show against England at Wembley, Etebo was thrown in at half-time and has never looked back.

He was a rare bright spot in the defeat to Croatia, and was one of the star men in both the victory against Iceland, and the heartbreaking loss to Argentina.

He has surely sealed his place in that three-man midfield that Rohr is so enamoured with, whether he goes with three at the back or four.