The FIFA World Cup is a trophy that fans of every footballing nation want to see their national team win; it’s no different for Nigerians. The Nigerian Super Eagles have made it to the World Cup tournament on multiple occasions. However, they’ve never lifted the golden trophy.
In fact, no African country has won the trophy since it’s advent. Nevertheless, the Super Eagles have quite an interesting history when it comes to the World Cup. Who were their opponents each year? How far did they go each year? These are only just two of the questions on the list of Super Eagles fans.
Well, I’ll be discussing Super Eagles World Cup History in this article to provide all the answers you need.
1994 World Cup
In 1994, the Super Eagles got to the World Cup for the first time. Clemens Westerhof, the great coach, was instrumental in this progress. From 1989 till the World Cup in 1994, Westerhof was the head coach.
Against Argentina, Bulgaria, and Greece in the 1994 World Cup group stage, Nigeria topped their group. In their opening match, the Super Eagles trounced Bulgaria 3–0 before falling to Argentina 1–2. The Super Eagles were able to top their group after a 2–0 win over the Greek national team.
Nigeria defeated Italy 1-0 in the second round, with Emmanuel Amunike scoring in the 25th minute to give Nigeria the advantage. The team was two minutes away from advancing to the quarterfinals when Roberto Baggio netted an equalizer to force extratime. He then scored the winning goal and the Italians won by a score of 2–1.
1998 World Cup
Nigeria, Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia, and South Africa all qualified for the World Cup in 1998. Bora Milutinovic, the Serbian football coach, coached a team that included many players from the 1994 squad.
With the likes of Spain, Bulgaria, and Paraguay in Group D, Nigeria was put into the spotlight. Nigeria stunned European champions Spain 3-2 in the tournament opener. The Super Eagles equalized twice before Sunday Oliseh scored the game-winning goal late in the second half.
The team qualified for the second round by beating Bulgaria and losing to Paraguay. They went on to face Denmark in the round of 16. The team’s hopes of making it to the World Cup quarter finals were dashed when they lost 1–4 to Denmark.
2002 World Cup
There was a clear decline in the Super Eagles’ performance after the 1998 World Cup, as evidenced by their improbable qualification for the 2002 World Cup. In the end, the team’s performance was abysmal, as they failed to win any of their three world cup games.
The Super Eagles were placed in the same group as Sweden, Argentina, and England, all of which are very strong teams. The opening matchup was against Argentina, and the defense played well, keeping the scoreless for the first half.
Argentina took the lead in the 61st minute when Gabriel Batistuta broke through the Nigerian defense to score the game’s only goal. Nigeria took the lead in Sweden’s second game, but went on to lose 2–1. Nigeria was eliminated after a 0-0 draw with England in the last game.
2006 World Cup
Nigeria missed out on the 2006 World Cup. The Super Eagles finished level on points with Angola in the qualification group but with poor records in the fixtures between the two teams.
2010 World Cup
Nigeria made it to the 2010 World Cup after defeating Kenya 3–2 on November 14th, 2009 in Nairobi. After a disputed Gabriel Heinze header in the sixth minute, Nigeria lost 1–0 to Argentina in its World Cup opener at Ellis Park Stadium.
In Nigeria’s second game, Kalu Uche gave Nigeria an early lead with a goal, but Sani Kaita’s red card handed the game to Greece. Nigeria fell to a 2–1 defeat when Greece scored late in the first half to level the score.
Nigeria took an early lead in the 12th minute against South Korea in their last group round encounter. South Korea, however, took a 2–1 lead thanks to goals from Lee Jung-Soo and Park Chu-Young, and that looked to be enough for the Koreans to proceed to the round of 16 of the tournament.
After squandering a great chance earlier in the game, Nigeria came back to tie the game in the 69th minute by converting a penalty kick. Even a 2-2 draw couldn’t advance the Super Eagles. Nigeria was knocked out of the 2010 World Cup earning just one point.
2014 World Cup
Bosnia, Argentina, and Iran were Nigeria’s Group F adversaries. The team won Bosnia 1–0 and drew 0-0 with Iran in the group stage. However, Argentina beat Nigeria by 3 goals to 2 in the last group game. Nevertheless, the team made it out of the group stage.
The Super Eagles met France in the knockout stages of the tournament. France defeated Nigeria 2-0 thanks to Paul Pogba’s 79th-minute goal and Super Eagles Captain Joseph Yobo’s injury-time own goal. For the third time in the tournament’s history, Nigeria was knocked out in the round of 16, with no chance of advancing further.
2018 World Cup
Argentina, Iceland, and Croatia were in Nigeria’s group. The team opened the tournament with a 0–2 defeat to Croatia in Kaliningrad before defeating Iceland 2–0 in the second encounter, with Ahmed Musa netting both goals for Nigeria. Nigeria was eliminated from the competition after a 1–2 loss against Argentina in their final game.
There you have it – a timeline of Nigeria’s performance in the FIFA World Cup.