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April 7, 2023
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1994 – 2018: How Nigeria performed in World Cup Tournaments

Nigeria has a relatively strong football tradition in Africa and has participated in the FIFA World Cup six times, including in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014, and 2018. Nigeria’s best World Cup performance came in 1994 and 2014 when they reached the Round of 16. However, in their last appearance in 2018, Nigeria was unable to make it out of the group stage while in 2022, she didnt qualify after loosing a qualifiers game to Ghana at her Abuja home in 2022.

The Nigerian National team has left a remarkable footprint in the world of football with brilliant and averagely fair performances over time. The National team has produced many talented footballers who played and still are playing in top leagues around the world like Victor Osimehn. Ogunwatch chronicles the performance of Nigeria’s most senior team’s performance during their participation in the periodic world tournament.

Nigeria
Nigeria

Nigeria at 1994 World cup

Nigeria made their debut in the FIFA World Cup in 1994, which was held in the United States. Nigeria’s performance in the tournament was impressive as they advanced to the Round of 16 before being eliminated by Italy.

Nigeria started their campaign in Group D, where they faced Bulgaria, Argentina, and Greece. In their opening match, they defeated Bulgaria 3-0, with goals from Rashidi Yekini, Daniel Amokachi, and Emmanuel Amuneke. They then lost to Argentina 2-1 in their second match, with Samson Siasia scoring for Nigeria. In their final group match, they defeated Greece 2-0, with goals from Finidi George and Amuneke.

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In the Round of 16, Nigeria faced Italy, who were one of the tournament favorites. Despite taking the lead through a goal from Amuneke in the 25th minute, Nigeria eventually lost the match 2-1, with Roberto Baggio scoring the winning goal for Italy in the 89th minute.

Nigeria’s performance in the 1994 World Cup remains their best in the tournament’s history, and they were widely praised for their entertaining and attacking style of play. Several Nigerian players, including Yekini, Amokachi, and Amuneke, also gained international recognition for their performances in the tournament.

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Nigeria at 1998 World Cup

The Super Eagles qualified for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, which was held in France. It was their second appearance in the tournament, having previously qualified in 1994 and reaching the round of 16.

In the 1998 World Cup, Nigeria was drawn in Group D alongside Spain, Paraguay, and Bulgaria. The Super Eagles started their campaign with a 3-2 win over Spain, with goals from Mutiu Adepoju, Garba Lawal, and Sunday Oliseh. They then defeated Bulgaria 1-0 thanks to a goal from Victor Ikpeba before losing their final group match 1-3 to Paraguay.

Despite finishing second in their group, Nigeria progressed to the round of 16, where they faced Denmark. Unfortunately, the Super Eagles were defeated 1-4 by the Danes, with Tijani Babangida scoring their only goal of the match.

Nigeria’s performance in the 1998 World Cup was considered respectable, with some standout performances from individual players such as Sunday Oliseh and Finidi George.

Nigeria at 2002 World Cup

Consecutively, the Super Eagles qualified for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which was held in South Korea and Japan. It was the third Nigeria will go into the tournament, having previously qualified in 1994 and 1998.

In the 2002 World Cup, Nigeria was drawn in Group F alongside Argentina, Sweden, and England. The Super Eagles started their campaign with a 1-0 win over Bulgaria, with Julius Aghahowa scoring the only goal of the match. However, they were then defeated 0-1 by Argentina and drew 1-1 with Sweden, with a goal from Julius Aghahowa.

Despite finishing third in their group, Nigeria was not able to progress to the round of 16. This was because, despite both finishing with four points, Super eagles came behind Sweeden by goal difference.

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Overall, Nigeria’s performance in the 2002 World Cup was considered disappointing, as they failed to progress beyond the group stage. They were also criticized for their lack of attacking prowess, with Julius Aghahowa being their only goalscorer in the tournament.

Nigeria at 2010 World Cup

Held in South Africa, the 2010 FIFA World Cup had Nigeria as one of its contenders. It was the super eagle’s fourth appearance in the tournament, having previously qualified in 1994, 1998, and 2002.

In the 2010 World Cup, Nigeria was drawn in Group B alongside long time rival Argentina, Greece, and South Korea. The Super Eagles started their campaign with a 0-1 loss to Argentina, followed by a 1-2 loss to Greece, with a goal from Chinedu Obasi. They then defeated South Korea 2-1 in their final group match, with goals from Kalu Uche and Yakubu Aiyegbeni.

Nigeria was not able to progress to the round of 16, despite finishing third in their group. Similar to her 2002 World cup fate, Nigerian team had a worse goal difference than South Korea, who also finished with three points.

Analysts have said that Nigeria’s performance in the 2010 World Cup was one its most disappointing outing, as the team failed to progress beyond the group stage. Scoring only two goals in three matches, the team was viewed by many audiences as lacking creativity and poor finishing.

Nigeria at 2014 World Cup

Making heir fifth appearance in the tournament, the Super Eagles qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which was held in Brazil. The team previously featured in the tournament in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2010.

In the 2014 World Cup, Nigeria was drawn in Group F alongside Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Iran. The Super Eagles started their campaign with a 0-0 draw against Iran. With a goal from Peter Odemwingie, Nigeria aced over Bosnia and Herzegovina in a 1-0 win. They then lost 2-3 to age long regular rival Argentina in their final group match, despite Ahmed Musa scoring a brace.

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Finishing second in their group, Nigeria progressed to the round of 16, where they faced France. Unfortunately, the Super Eagles were defeated 0-2 by the French, ending their campaign in the tournament.

Nigeria’s performance in the 2014 World Cup, to analysts anf fans was considered respectable, as they managed to progress beyond the group stage for the first time since 1998. They were praised for their solid defense and tactical discipline, as well as the impressive performances of players such as Vincent Enyeama and Ahmed Musa.

Nigeria at 2018 World Cup

The Nigerian national football team consecutively qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which was held in Russia. It was their sixth appearance in the tournament, having previously featured in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, and 2014.

In the 2018 World Cup, Nigeria was drawn in Group D alongside Argentina, Croatia, and Iceland. With a 0-2 loss to Croatia, the super eagles started the campaign with a loss. In the next game, thanks to Ahmed Musa for scoring both goals to give the team their first winning of the tournament as Iceland their opponent scored nil. They then faced, again, arch enemy Argentina in their final group match, where they needed a win to progress to the round of 16. Despite taking the lead through a goal from Victor Moses, they ultimately lost the match 1-2 and were eliminated from the tournament.

Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup performance was considered a disappointing outing, as they failed to progress beyond the group stage. Their lack of creativity and poor defending in the opening match against Croatia, analyst said was responsible for the poor outrun. However the team was praised for their spirited performance against Iceland. Ahmed Musa was Nigeria’s star man of the tournament.

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