BY JAY

The Nigeria national team, the Super Eagles are all set for their sixth appearance in the FIFA World Cup.

While the kick off is still months away, many have their appetite wet up for tomorrow’s draw that would show the group opponents of the Super Eagle in Russia.

Housed in Pot 4, the Super Eagles are at mercy of the supposed big teams and could be in another ‘Group of Death’ as it has often been the case in the past five appearances.

As part of the prelude to the December 1 draw ceremony, Jay goes down memory lane to see how Nigeria has fared in time past against their group opponents.

USA 1994

Seen as greenhorns, many were expecting the Super Eagles to struggle as they were placed against Bulgaria, Argentina and Greece in Group D.

The reverse was, however, the case as the Super Eagles announced their presence with an emphatic 3-0 win over Bulgaria.

Till date, that is the biggest win by Nigeria at the Mundial.

It was thus not surprising that Argentina rolled up their sleeves to face the rampaging African champions.

Though the two-time world champions got a slim 2-1 win, there was nothing to be ashamed of the Nigeria first-timers who went on to beat Greece 2-0 to secure a berth in the Round of 16.

The Eagles were almost flying into the quarter-finals but the more experienced Italian team dug deep to beat Nigeria 2-1 after extra time.

Though painful, all saluted the Super Eagles for a commendable appearance at the world stage.

France 1998

Again the Super Eagles were housed in Group D, where they were pitched alongside, Spain, Bulgaria again and Paraguay.

The seemingly most difficult tie came first against the star-studded Spanish team and a thriller it was.

At the end, Nigeria prevailed 3-2 and for some, it was the sign of better things to come.
Better things did come as Nigeria showed that they knew how to handle Bulgaria; beating them by a lone goal.

With qualification already secured, the Eagles played their final group game with a weakened side and they were punished by the Paraguayans. 3-1 was the final score in that game and that may have taken so much out of the promising Eagles team who went into the Round of 16 and were thrashed by Denmark.

Korea/Japan 2002

That ranks as Nigeria’s poorest outing at the Mundial as they lost their first two games against Argentina and then Sweden before salvaging an inconsequential barren draw against the Three Lions of England in Group F.

Nigeria scored one goal in that historic joint-hosted World Cup. Nigeria’s poor outing wasn’t because they had tough group but as widely agreed, not the best legs were selected to represent the country.

Germany 2006

The country failed to qualify

South Africa 2010

The euphoria that greeted the first senior FIFA World Cup on African soil was legendary. And when the draws were conducted the only noticeable snag was the presence on Argentina for the umpteenth time.

Losing by a lone goal to the South Americans was not considered a bad start but the Eagles were marked for an early exit from Group B after the shock 2-1 loss to Greece.

Though they played a 2-2 draw with South Korea, it was too little too late.

Brazil 2014

The Super Eagles were housed in Group F at the Brazil World Cup and yes again, they had Argentina to contend with.

After a barren draw against Iran and a slim 1-0 win over Bosnia, it was time for another battle royale against Argentina.

This time, it was fire-for-fire in that group opener but again the South Americans prevailed with a 3-2 win.

That loss did not stop Nigeria from progressing, but they met their albatross in the Round of 16 against France.

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