Heading to their 6th World Cup the Super Eagles will be fielding one of their strongest teams yet. Under the Guidance of German coach Gernot Rohr the team is back to their winning ways. The front line contains four Premier League players in the form of Victor Moses (Chelsea), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester), Odion Ighalo (Watford) and Alex Iwobi (Arsenal). The team will be led by key player John Obi Mikel a former Chelsea player who captained the team at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Road to Russia
The Super Eagles were the first team to qualify from their group for the 2018 World Cup. The qualification rounds saw Nigeria facing off with neighbours Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria, this was nicknamed Africa’s “Group of Death”. Nigeria was off to a great start when they beat Zambia 2-1, Algeria 3-1 and thrashed Cameroon 4-0. They then went on to draw with Cameroon 1-1 and beat Zambia 1-0 this was when they qualified with a match in hand and went on to draw 1-1 against Algeria.
Nigeria goal scorers during qualification:
Alex Iwobi (2 goals), Kelechi Iheanacho (2 goals), Victor Moses (2 goals), John Obi Mikel (2 goals), Odion Ighalo, Moses Simon and John Ogu.
1994 – USA World Cup
In 1994 the Super Eagles qualified for their first World Cup tournament under the guidance of their Dutch coach Clemens Westerhof.
It seemed luck was not on their side as they were drawn in a tough group alongside Argentina, Bulgaria and Greece. Nobody had faith that the African team would progress from the group stages on their debut. But, Nigeria proved everyone wrong when they kicked off their tournament.
First up the Super Eagles wiped the floor with Bulgaria thanks to a convincing 3-0 win. Argentina bought them team back down to earth when they won 2-1. All Nigeria needed to progress to the next round was a draw and they did more than that when they beat Greece 2-0.
The Super Eagles made it to the round of 16 where they lost out to Italy. They put up a valiant effort with the game ending in a draw but extra time saw Italy’s Baggio score the winning goal.
1998 – France World Cup
Five teams from Africa qualified for 98 World Cup in France: Nigeria, Tunisia, Cameroon, Morocco and South Africa. This time the Super Eagles were coached by Bora Milutinovic from Serbia. Nigeria was drawn in group D where they had to face off against old rivals Bulgaria, Spain and Paraguay.
The group stages started off well for Nigeria with a 3-2 win over Spain and another win for their next game when they beat Bulgaria 1-0. The Super Eagles had already qualified for the round of 16 by the time they had their first defeat against Paraguay 3-1.
Just like the World Cup before Nigeria could not get past the round of 16 where they lost 4-1 to Denmark.
2002 – Korea and Japan World Cup
Nigeria qualified for their third World Cup under the leadership of a local coach Festus Onigbinde and they were captained by the legendary Jay-Jay Okocha.
Again they had a tough group where they faced first time rivals Argentina plus Sweden and England. The tournament was not off to a good start for the Super Eagles as they lost 1-0 to Argentina and 2-1 to Sweden, they managed a goalless draw against England but, it was not enough to progress from the group stages and Nigeria was sent home.
2010 – South Africa World Cup
A World Cup hosted on the African continent had everyone hoping this would be the time for an African team to show the world what they are made of. Teams from Africa included Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and the host team South Africa.
But again Nigeria was drawn in a group alongside Argentina, South Korea and Greece. Like their previous tournament, Nigeria didn’t have a great start they lost 1-0 against Argentina and 2-1 against Greece. Again they managed a draw in their last game against Korea with the final score being 2-2 but, it wasn’t enough to progress. The game against Korea was most memorable for Yakubu’s miss, one of the easiest shots to slot into the goals but he missed the target.
Ghana did, however, progress all the way through to the quarter-finals where they missed out to Uruguay on a penalty shootout. The Ghana VS Uruguay game was one of the most memorable of the 2010 World Cup.
2014 – Brazil World Cup
Qualifying for their 5th World Cup tournament the Super Eagles were hoping to change back to their winning ways. But, again for the third time, they were drawn in the same group as Argentina. Luckily the rest of Group F included Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Super Eagles faced off against Iran first and were disappointed to end the game in a goalless draw. But when they faced first timers Bosnia and Herzegovina they managed a 1-0 win. Next up was Argentina where Nigeria suffered a 3-2 defeat.
Nigeria did manage to leave the group stages and in the round of 16 they faced off against France. Unfortunately, Paul Pogba put an end to Nigeria’s dreams of progressing further when he found the back of the nets and Yobo managed to scored a late own goal.
2018 – Russia World Cup
Nigeria is one of Africa’s strongest teams going into the World Cup and they will be looking to better their results by winning the round of 16 matches. But, yet again Nigeria has been drawn in the same group stages as Argentina. The rest of Group D is Iceland and Croatia so it is expected for the Super Eagles to advance.
2018 Nigeria fixtures:
Saturday, June 16
Croatia Vs Nigeria
Friday, June 22
Nigeria VS Iceland
Tuesday, June 26
Nigeria VS Argentina
Based on predictions Nigeria is expected to finish 2nd in group D meaning they could potentially play against France in the round of 16 as France is expected to finish top of their Group C.