by
Okey Onwugbonu
20
– Number of goals Super Eagles have scored at the World Cup
The
Super Eagles had a debut World Cup to remember with scintillating
performances and breathe taking goals to go with it. It culminated in
the team being voted the second most entertaining team in the
tournament and an all-time high of number 5 in the FIFA ranking
following the World Cup.
The
Eagles scored 7 goals in that tournament, an opening 3-0 win against
Bulgaria, one in the 2-1 defeat to a Diego Maradona led Argentina. A
2-0 win against Greece in the last group game saw the Eagles qualify
for the round of 16 as group winners before being knocked out of the
tournament with a 2-1 defeat to eventual finalist Italy.
In
France 1998 the Eagles scored six goals, three in the opening game, a
surprising 3-2 win over then European under achievers, Spain, one
each in a 1-0 win over Bulgaria, a 3-1 loss to Paraguay and a 4-1
bashing in the hands of Denmark.
A
solitary goal was scored in Korea/Japan 2010 in a 2-1 defeat to
Sweden while the team failed to score in the 1-0 loss to Argentina
and a goalless draw with England.
In
South Africa 2010, Nigeria found the back of the net 3 times. Once in
a shocking 2-1 defeat to Greece and twice in a 2-2 draw with Korea
Republic, with the team failing to score in the 1-0 loss to
Argentina.
With
the Samba nation as host of the last World Cup in 2014 the Eagles
were not so lucky in front of goal scoring, 3 times in four games. A
single goal was scored in the 1-0 win over Bosnia & Herzegovina  and two goals
scored in the 3-2 defeat to Argentina, they failed to score in a 0-0
draw with Iran and a 2-0 loss to France.
19
– Number of yellow cards received in her 1st three appearances at
the World Cup
The
Eagles were cautioned nine times in her debut outing at the World Cup
and eight in her second outing in France 98 and twice in her third
outing in Korea/Japan 2002.
During
the period in view, Augustine Eguavoen, Michael Emenalo, Sunday
Oliseh, Mutiu Adepouju, Uche Okechukwu and Austin Okocha were
cautioned twice. While Emmanuel Amuneke, Stephen Keshi, Chidi Nwanu,
Victor Ikpeba, Efe Sodje, Benedict Iroha and Taribo West went into
the referee’s book once.
18
– Number of matches Super Eagles have played at the World Cup
The
Eagles have gotten to the second round of the World Cup three times,
the debut in USA 1994, France 1998 and in Brazil 2014 which means the
Eagles played four games in each of these tournaments, 3 in the first
round and a round of 16 clash. While first round exits in 2002 when
the World Cup was co-hosted by Korea and Japan; and in South Africa
2010 means the Eagles only get to play three games.
Femi Opabunmi, youngest Nigerian to play at the World Cup
17
– Age of the youngest Nigerian player at the World Cup
Femi
Opabunmi was 17 years, 3 months and nine days when he played for the
Super Eagles against the Three Lions of England at the World Cup
co-hosted by Korea and Japan in 2002.
Opabunmi
benefited from a massive clear out in the national team after their
disappointing 3rd place finish at the AFCON in Mali earlier in the
year.
The
previous year Opabunmi was part of the National Under 17 team that
reached the final of the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in France.
16
– Number of Super Eagles players supplied by English Clubs to the
World Cup
English
clubs have supplied 16 players for the Eagles in 5 World Cup
appearances. Efan Ekoku of Norwich City was the only England based
player in USA 94, while Chelsea’s Celestine Babayaro made the team
in 1998.
Nwankwo
Kanu of Arsenal, Efe Sodje of Crewe Alexander and Celestine Babayaro
still in the books of Chelsea made it in Korea/Japan 2002.
Everton
supplied Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Joseph Yobo in 2010, Portsmouth had
John Utaka and Kanu Nwankwo in their books while Dickson Etuhu of
Fulham and Bolton Wanderers Daniel Shittu completed the English party
in 2010.
Mikel
Obi, Victor Moses and Kenneth Omeruo were all owned by Chelsea in
2014, Shola Ameobi of Newscastle and Osaze Odenwengie of Stoke City
completes the list.
15
– Number of Scorers for the Super Eagles at the World Cup
Fifteen
players have accounted for Nigeria’s twenty goals scored at the
World Cup in the five editions the Super Eagles have attended. Five
players were responsible for the seven goals scored in USA 94. Former
African player of the year Emmanuel Amunuke and Daniel Amokachi
scored two goals each while Finidi George, late Rashidi Yekini and
Samson Siasia scored a goal each.
Amokachi’s
strikes came in the 3-0 win over Bulgaria and the 2-0 win against
Greece, Amuneke also scored in the 3-0 win over Bulgaria and he
scored the only goal in the round of 16 clash, a 2-1 loss to Italy.
George
Finidi scored the first goal against Greece, a delightful chip and an
equally amazing celebration- going down on all fours, crawling a few
yards before lifting his right leg like a dog about to take a leak.
Rashidi
Yekini scored our first ever world cup goal against Bulgaria while
Siasia scored in the 2-1 loss to Argentina.
In
France 98 five players scored six goals. Mutui Adepouju and Sunday
Oliseh in the first game against Spain, Victor Ikpeba against
Bulgaria, Wilson Oruma against Paraguay and Tijani Babangida against
Denmark. Garba Lawal’s strike against Spain was recorded as an own
goal for Spanish goalkeeper Andoni Zubizerreta.
Juluis
Aghahowa scored the only goal in Korea/Japan 2002 in the 2-1 loss to
Sweden, while the three goals in South Africa 2010 were scored by
Kalu Uche (2 goals – Greece and Korea) and Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s
penalty goal against Korea after he had missed an open goal from 3
yards, a miss Nigerians will never forget.
Ahmed
Musa’s brace against Argentina in Brazil 2014 and Osaze
Odenwingie’s goal in the 1-0 win over Bosnia and Hezergovina rounds
off the goals Nigeria has scored at the World Cup.
Rashidi Yekini scored Nigeria’s first ever World Cup goal

14
– Number of goals conceded against European oppositions
Out
of the 26 goals Eagles have conceded at the World Cup, 14 were
against European oppositions. Italy scored twice against the Eagles
in the second round match in USA 94 while in France 98, Spain and
Denmark were responsible for 6 goals scored against the Eagles, Spain
scoring twice and Denmark 4 in the 4-1 second round white wash.
In
2002, Sweden scored 2 goals against the Super Eagles and Greece also
scored twice against the Eagles in 2010 in South Africa. At the last
World Cup in Brazil, France beat the Eagles 2-0 in the round of 16
the only goals conceded to a European team by Nigeria in the
tournament.
13
– Shots on target for Argentina against Nigeria in Brazil 2014
Argentina
had 13 shots on target against Nigeria in Brazil 2014, beating
Vincent Enyeama 3 times. Lionel Messi scored a brace while Marcos
Rojo scored the other.
12
– Number of coaches appointed in successful World Cup qualification
campaign and at the World Cup
Coaches
have been appointed twelve times to successfully navigate Nigeria to
the World Cup and at the World Cup proper. The first on this list is
Clemens Westerhof, the Dutch man who against all odds successful
qualified Nigeria for her first World Cup in USA 1994 and unlike some
of his successors also coached the Eagles at the Mundial.
The
qualification campaign for the 1998 World Cup in France was handled
by two coaches. Shaibu Amodu was in charge for the first two games
against Guinea and Kenya before French man Phillippe Troussier took
over for the remaining qualifiers. Troussier lost his place on the
Super Eagles bench to “World Class Coach” Bora Mulitinovic who
took Nigeria to the Mundial in France.
Amodu
would suffer the same fate enroute Korea/Japan 2002 losing his job to
Adegboye Onigbinde after qualifying the Eagles for the World Cup.
Amodu had rescued the Eagles World Cup campaign from Dutch man Jo
Bonfrere after an abysmal start.
Shaibu
Amodu yet again was given the task to qualify the Super Eagles for
the first World Cup on African soil slated for South Africa in 2010.
Nigeria had missed out on qualification in Germany 2006. Amodu
succeeded yet again despite a topsy-turvy campaign, but for a second
time he was deemed not good enough to lead our charges at the World
Cup and in came the Swede – Lars Lagerback.
Stephen
Keshi steered the qualification for Brazil 2014 and led the team to
the Mundial. While in the qualification for Russia 2018, Sunday
Oliseh began the race but relinquished his position to Germany’s
Gernot Rohr who qualified Nigeria for the World Cup and Rohr is
finely poised to lead Nigeria at the fiesta.
11
– Starling 11 players of Nigeria’s first World Cup game
At
the fifteenth edition of the World Cup the Nigerian flag was hosted
for the very first time and 11 gladiators had the honour of being the
first to don the green and white jersey at the Mundial. Peter Rufai
the skipper of the day was in goal while the defense was marshalled
by the ‘gentle giant’ Uche Okechukwu supported by Chidi Nwanu,
Benedict Iroha and Augustine Eguavoen. The midfield had Sunday
Oliseh, Samson Siasia, Emmanuel Amuneke and Finidi George, with
Rashidi Yekini and Daniel Amokachi as the strikers.
10
– Number of goalkeepers taken to the World Cup
Nigeria
have taken ten goalkeepers to the World Cup with only three tasting
action-Peter Rufai, Ike Shorunmu and Vincent Enyeama.
Rufai
was in goal at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, Shorunmu was at the 2002
World Cup and kept in games against Argentina and Greece while
Enyeama was in action in 2002 against England and made it to the 2010
and 2014 World Cups as first choice.
Alloy
Agu and Wilfred Agbonavbare were backup goalkeepers in 1994 while
Abiodun Baruwa and Willy Opara deputized for Rufai in 1998.
Austin
Ejide made it to the 2002, 2010 and 2014 World Cups whereas Dele
Aiyenugba and Chigozie Agbim made the squad in 2010 and 2014
respectively.
9
– Number of yellow cards received by Nigeria at her debut World Cup
Super
Eagles players were cautioned 9 times at her debut appearance in USA
94.
Emmanuel
Amuneke was the first Eagles player to go into the referee’s book
for Nigeria at the World Cup in the game against Bulgaria. Michael
Emenalo and Augustine Eguavoen saw yellow in the game against
Argentina, while Stephen Keshi and Sunday Oliseh were booked against
Greece.
In
the second Round tie against Italy, Chidi Nwanu, Sunday Oliseh,
Michael Emenalo and Mutiu Adepouju were cautioned.
8
– Number of substitutions made by Nigeria at her debut World Cup
Eight
substitutions was made by Nigeria at her debut World Cup in USA 1994.
Samson Siasia was the first player to be substituted against Bulgaria
when he left the field for head master Mutiu Adepoju in the 66th
minute.
Finidi
George followed as Emeka Ezeugo took his place. A similar
substitution was made in game 2 (Mutiu for Siasia), while Austin ‘Jay
Jay’ Okocha replaced Sunday Oliseh.
Against
Greece, Jay Jay replaced Rashidi Yekini whereas Mutiu came on for
Finidi George.
The
Eagles had two forced substitution in the Second Round encounter
against Italy due to injuries. Mutiu Adepouju came in for Daniel
Amokachi in the 35th minute while Thompson Oliha replaced Emmanuel
Amuneke in the 57th minute.
7
– Number of goals conceded against Argentina
Nigeria
has played Argentina four times at the World Cup, losing all,
conceding 7 goals and scoring just 3.
A
2-1 loss in USA was followed by two 1-0 losses in Korea/ Japan 2002
and South Africa 2010.
The
last meeting was a 3-2 loss in Brazil 2014.
6
– Number of Home based players taken to the World Cup
Six
home based players have made it to the World Cup for Nigeria. But it
was until the 2002 edition co-hosted by Korea and Japan that the home
based first made it to the Mundial.
Goal
keepers Vincent Enyeama of Enyimba FC and Austin Ejide of Gabros
International FC; and Femi Opabunmi of Shooting Stars were the first
home based players at the World Cup.
Goal
Keeper Chigozie Agbim of Gombe United and defenders Azubuike Egwuekwe
of Warri Wolves and Kunle Odunlami of Sunshine Stars we part of the
party in Brazil 2014
5
– Number of games won at the World Cup
The
Eagles have won just 5 games at the World Cup, all of them against
European opposition.
Bulgaria
and Greece were taken to the cleaners in USA 94, Spain and Bulgaria
tasted the humble pie in France 98, while Bosnia and Herzegovina lost
to the Eagles in Brazil 2014.
4
– Number of minutes for the fastest goal scored at the World Cup
It
took Ahmed Musa just 4 minutes to get on the score sheet for Nigeria
against Argentina in response to Lionel Messi’s 3rd minute opener
in the final group game in Brazil 2014.
Ahmed Musa has Nigeria’s fastest World Cup goal

3
– Number of draws Eagles have played at the World Cup
The
Eagles have drawn three games at the World Cup. A goalless draw
against the three lions of England in 2002, a 2-2 draw against Korea
Republic in 2010 and a goalless draw against Iran in the first group
game of Brazil 2014.
2
– Highest number of goals scored in a single match by a Nigerian
player
Ahmed
Musa scored a brace against Argentina in the last group game at the
World Cup in Brazil 2014. The Super Eagles eventually lost the game
3-2.
1
– Number of red cards received by Nigeria at the World Cup

Sani
Kieta received the marching orders against Greece at the World Cup in
South Africa 2010 for a needless Kung-fu kick on a Greek player with
the Eagles leading 1-0. The Eagles eventually lost 2-1 and Kaita
never played for Nigeria again.

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