USA 1994: Nigeria’s first World Cup goal
21 minutes into Nigeria’s first World Cup game, legendary striker Rashidi Yekini was on hand to tap home George Finidi George’s low cross from the right into the Bulgarian net. The striker’s ecstatic celebration inside the Bulgarian goal remains epic.
USA 1994: Heartbreak Baggio
The Super Eagles was a goal and a man up with three minutes of their second round match against Italy to play; three minutes to a place in the quarter fiinals of Nigeria’s maiden World Cup. Roberto Baggio broke Nigerian hearts when he equalized within regulation time and, during the first half of the ensuing extra time, won and converted a penalty to knock Nigeria out of the World Cup.
France 1998: Sunday Oliseh’s rocket
Coming from behind twice to level scores at 2-2, the Super Eagles had a corner kick cleared from danger which landed at the mid-way mark of the Spaniards’ half and Sunday Oliseh executed a perfect half volley to drill the ball past Spanish goalkeeper Zubizarreta into the net, to seal a famous win for Nigeria.
France 1998: Humiliation by Denmark
After topping a group that included Spain, Bulgaria and Paraguay, Super Eagles wrote off a Danish side led by the Laudrup brothers – Michael and Brian, and looked forward to a first ever quarter final potentially against Brazil. Alas, the Eagles were brought down to earth by a 4-1 thrashing by Denmark in a second round game of the World Cup.
Korea/Japan 2002: Aghahowa’s celebration
Julius Aghahowa scored the Super Eagles’ only goal of Nigeria’s worst outing at the World cup. The goal may not have been spectacular – the celebration was. A cross from the right from Joseph Yobo was headed into the Swedish goal by Julius Aghahowa who did 8 summersaults in celebration to the delight of the match commentator.
2010: Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s unbelievable miss
Yakubu Aiyegbeni still holds the record for Nigeria’s worst miss at the World Cup, and indeed, one of the worst misses in FIFA World Cup tournament. In a group stage game against South Korea a low cross from Ayila Yusuf down the left on 66 minutes met Aiyegbeni alone in front of a yawning goal post. The striker missed from 3 yards out when it was easier to score.
2010: Sani Kaita’s silly red card
The Eagles were in pole position to beat Greece in their second game at the 2010 World Cup, after taking the lead through Kalu Uche. Then Sani Kaita lost his head and kicked out at Vassilis Torosidis and was duly sent off in the 34th minute, leaving the Eagles depleted and eventually defeated.
2014: Joseph Yobo’s own goal
In what was an unfortunate end to his international career, Captain Joseph Yobo scored an own goal, a late second in a 0-2 defeat to France in the second round of the 2014 World Cup.