As well as people asking me what has happened to my hair, the question I have been getting most while I have been at this World Cup is what has happened to the African teams.

Let me clear up my haircut first. It is something I had done about seven months ago, but I guess I am not that good on social media – I don’t post enough selfies!

So, I know people are not used to it, because I had my ponytail for years and years – but me having no hair is not new.

It does make things easier, though, because I spend a lot less time in the bathroom now!

‘You need to keep your identity as a team’

World Cup 2018: Nigeria 2-0 Iceland highlights

It has been a disappointing start to the World Cup for Africa – until Nigeria beat Iceland on Friday, there had been six defeats in seven games for the five African countries in Russia.

So it was great to see the Super Eagles win, but the way they did it was just as important and impressive.

In the second half, Nigeria came to life and played the way I want to see all the African teams play – going on the attack, using their pace and power, and having lots of shots.

That is what I did not see in their first game against Croatia, when Nigeria were playing within themselves – keeping a good shape, playing safe, and passing the ball from side to side.

This time, they went out just to win. They played with two strikers and they were so fast and aggressive going forward that they frightened Iceland.

They were spontaneous and exciting, which is the way I expected them to play at this World Cup – and that is why they won the game.

The point I am making is that you need to keep your identity as a team. Until then, Senegal had been the only African team to do that, and really try to scare their opposition.

It is important they keep doing that – and Nigeria too – if they are going to reach the last 16. If they decide to stay defensive and start fearing conceding goals, they will be going home.

‘I know what it is like not to be 100% at World Cup’

Salah blasts home VAR penalty

Unfortunately, it looks like Nigeria and Senegal are the only African teams who have a chance of making it out of their groups. Egypt are out, but it would have been a different story for them if Mohamed Salah was fit.

I know him well from our time at Chelsea, when he was like a little brother to me, and I know what he brings to the Egypt team.

It is not just his threat of goals, it is his charisma. They feel secure when he is on the pitch, because they know they will get chances, and it is really sad that he could not perform at his best because of his injury. It is a tragedy for him.

I have been through it when I broke my arm just before the 2010 World Cup. Like Salah, I played – but I was nowhere near 100% when in a World Cup you need to be at 120%.

Morocco are out too, but at least they have had a go. They have not scored a goal at this World Cup but they created so many chances in their defeat by Portugal that they definitely deserved one.

And it is going to be hard for Tunisia to rescue their situation after losing their opening game, but I always thought they were in a very difficult group with two of the teams I think will go far in this tournament: Belgium and England.

‘England, Croatia and Belgium the teams to stand out so far’

Highlights: Tunisia 1-2 England

The England team is another subject that has come up a lot during my time in Moscow, where I have been working for Fifa as well as the BBC.

I really appreciate being asked about them, because it means my time in the Premier League was memorable for a lot of people as well as for myself – the years I spent at Chelsea were some of the best times of my career.

England are actually one of my favourites for this tournament – I really liked the way they played in their opening game against Tunisia too.

It is too early to say which team has stood out as a potential winner after the first week of the World Cup, but I have been impressed by Croatia, and their midfielders – Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic – who were brilliant against Argentina.

The team I like the most is still Belgium, though. One reason is that I have a lot of friends in their squad, but they have so much quality too and I don’t know why more people don’t speak about them as winners.

‘I’m a fan of strikers who take a chance – and VAR’

We have seen a lot of supposedly smaller football nations frustrate the big sides so far at this World Cup but the highlights for me have been when we have seen some exciting attacking play.

I am talking about Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance for Portugal against Spain, or Ahmed Musa for Nigeria against Iceland. They were both willing to try things, and they were not afraid to miss.

I have also been a big fan of the video assistant referee (VAR), which has played its part in some big moments at the tournament so far.

With the number of penalties that have been given, you might think I am speaking as a former striker there – but I actually think it is a positive for defenders too. It reduces mistakes both ways.

I thought the challenge on Neymar during the Costa Rica match was a penalty when I first saw it, but the decision was correctly ruled out because it was too soft.

These kind of decisions are game-changing so it is important to get them right.

Having VAR at this World Cup has been the best innovation and improvement of modern football – it is a great evolution of the game.

Neymar denied penalty after VAR review

Didier Drogba was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan in Moscow.

2018 Fifa World Cup on the BBC
Host: Russia Dates: 14 June – 15 July
Live: Coverage across BBC TV, BBC Radio and BBC Sport website with further coverage on Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

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