Four years ago in Brazil, Nigeria officially became the first African nation in the tournament to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 elimination stages. The mighty Super Eagles secured qualification into the elimination rounds in 2014 thereafter a hard-fought second place finish in Group F with four points.
Nigeria claimed their first victory at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 valiantly residing over Bosnia And Herzegovina in an inspiring 1-0 route via a finish from Peter Odemowingie. Michael Babatunde, Emmanuel Emenike, Keneth Omeruo, and Jon Obi Mikel were amongst standouts for the Super Eagles in the solid yet unspectacular victory against Bosnia And Herzegovina.
An Edin Dzeko-inspired Bosnia And Herzegovina edged out Carlos Queiroz’s Iran, 3-1, whereas Argentina narrowly defeated a valiant Nigeria. It was the final result between Bosnia and Herzeogovina and Iran which was indeed vastly favorable for Steven Keshi’s mighty African giants during the group stages.
Four summers ago, 16 years of frustration had invariably passed since the Super Eagles soundly swooped to cement a place in the final sixteen elimination stages at a FIFA World Cup tournament.
The Super Eagles expectations in France ’98 weighted largely on their shoulders. It was the Super Eagles class of FIFA World Cup France 1998 that strongly emerged into the elimination rounds in France. Nigeria also successfully finished in the final sixteen at FIFA World Cup USA ’94. USA ’94 was the first-ever time that Nigeria competed in the World Cup.
Four years ago, Ahmed Musa, Peter Odemwingie, Vincent Enyeama, Emmanuel Emenike, Kenneth Omeruo, Efe Ambrose, and Jon Obi Mikel were major catalysts in ensuring advancement for Nigeria. The ghostly shadow of World Cup ’98 was momentarily erased partly due to Nigeria’s determination.
Subsequently thereafter 2014, Nigeria failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations both in 2015 and 2017 (Nigeria are three-time Africa Cup of Nations champions). Furthermore, the Super Eagles have been Africa Cup of Nations runners up five times. Throughout Nigeria’s proud history, the revered golden generation of Peter Rufai, Taribo West, Finidi George, Sunday Oliseh, Jay Jay Okocha, Rashidi Yekini, Victor Ikpeba, Tijani Babangida, Daniel Amokachi and Nwankwo Kanu dispelled a once horrid myth of tactical naivete for African players courtesy of their on-field excellence and accomplishments with Nigeria. However, Nigeria’s current generation are slowly but surely re-establishing a respected class in their own right.
At FIFA World Cup France ’98, it was the Super Eagles class of 1998 that strongly emerged into the elimination rounds. At FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, the likes of Ahmed Musa, Peter Odemwingie, Vincent Enyeama, Emmanuel Emenike, Kenneth Omeruo, Efe Ambrose, and Jon Obi Mikel were major catalysts in ensuring advancement at FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014.
Nigerian’s proudly celebrated through the night in Brazil and throughout the motherland with a triumph universally for African nations in the game. This time around at FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, Nigeria are in very tough Group D alongside Argentina, Croatia and Iceland.
The Super Eagles will meet again with Lionel Andrés Messi’s Argentina, as well as with Rakitic and Modric’s Croatia and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s Iceland. Croatia and Iceland are both currently ranked higher in the FIFA/Coca-Cola rankings than the Super Eagles.
Nigeria are currently ranked 48th in the FIFA Coca-Cola rankings, whereas Croatia are ranked 18th and Iceland ranked 22nd. Argentina on the other hand are currently ranked 5th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World rankings.
Four summers ago in Brazil, Nigeria were initially deemed too passive, coupled alongside being fundamentally unimaginative and widely inconsistent throughout ninety minutes in the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 group games. However, the Super Eagles fans later rejoiced in unison as Nigeria ended a 16 year heartache in previously not advancing into the elimination stages at the FIFA World Cup.
FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 was miraculously filled with huge upsets, shocking controversy, and epic end to end drama. During the group stages four summers ago, goals were scored almost at free will. Nigeria’s history making personal triumph in Brazil undoubtedly inspired the nation, a new generation of Super Eagles players, and the African continent at large. The Super Eagles have no simple task in Group D at the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, but have a huge point to prove to the entire world on the grandest stage once more.
This time around, Nigeria’s talent includes Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Odion Ighalo, Victor Moses, Joel Obi, Moses Simon, Ola Aina, Wilfred Ndidi, Elderson Echiejile, as well as the likes of John Obi Mikel, Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu, Uche Henry Agbo and William Troost-Ekong to name a few.
Nigeria have had six managerial changes since FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, whereas their most capped current players in the team are John Mikel Obi (82 caps) and Ahmed Musa (68 caps). Musa is also the current leading active goalscorer for Nigeria with 13 goals in 68 games.