The Nigeria national football team has become the first African team which managed to get qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Nigeria, ahead of schedule, became the first team in the “group of death”, having outplayed such national teams as Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia.
The World Cup in Russia will be the sixth for Nigeria in its history. For the first time, “Super Eagles” participated in the main world tournament in 1994. The tournament in the USA became one of the most successful for Nigeria. At the group stage the Africans won twice, over the Greece and Bulgaria national football teams, aggregate score 5:0. Let`s remind, the Bulgaria national football team became the bronze medalist of the 1994 World Cup. In round of last 16 Nigeria as an equal battled against the Italian national football team — the future finalist of the tournament. In the middle of first half the score was opened by the Nigerian football player Emmanuel Amuneke, and only two minutes before the full time end the Italians could even the score and transfer the match into extra time. Alas, in extra time the Italian national football team could score another goal and kick out the Nigerians from plays.
Four years later White-Greens again were qualified, and got into the 1998 FIFA World Cup France. In this tournament the attitude towards Nigeria changed — “Super Eagles” were considered a real contender for getting into the three prize-winners and went to the tournament as the acting winner of the Olympic Football Tournament. However, Nigeria could only repeat the result shown four years ago in the USA — leaving for round of last 16. The Nigeria national football team confidently won the first position in the group, having won one of the brightest victories in their history with score 3:2 against the Spain national team. But already in round of last 16 the Nigerians were beaten by the modest team of Denmark — 1:4.
In 2002 and 2010 Nigeria acquired the right to take part in the World Cup again, but both times couldn’t overcome the group stage. In 2002 such a result was predictable (Nigeria got into the “group of death” with Sweden, England and Argentina), then, the Nigerians placed their hopes on the first 2010 World Cup in Africa. At the group stage, “Super Eagles” played against Argentina, South Korea and Greece. Opponents were quite “go-through”, but the Nigerians failed the tournament again — they gathered only one point in the match with Korea which didn’t allow the Nigerians to rise above the fourth place in the group.
Nigeria also participated in the last World Cup. Amazingly, but “Super Eagles”, after drawing, appeared again in the same group with Argentina. The remained two teams of the group, Iran and Bosnia, seemed within the powers of the Nigeria national football team. As a result, White-Greens could gather four points and from the second place, for the third time in its history, could get qualified for round of last 16. And again, like two previous times, Nigeria failed to get into the top 8.
Thus, Nigeria three times could get into the top of 16 teams in the World Cup. Thanks to these achievements, Nigeria, on an equal basis with Cameroon, is deservedly considered the most titled African national team. In the Nigeria`s portfolio there are three victories in the African Cup of Nations. The last victory was in 2013 in the tournament in the Republic of South Africa. The Nigerian forward Emmanuel Emenike became the top scorer and the main hero of the tournament.
Twice Nigeria took part in the UEFA Confederations Cup. In 1994 “Super Eagles” took the fourth place in the tournament and lost the match for the third place against the Mexico national football team.
The Nigeria national football team basically consists of players who have made a noticeable mark in the European football. Captain John Obi Mikel played in the Chelsea for many years, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa are not the least players in teams of England.
The defensive line is considered the weakest link of the Nigeria national football team. In general, the Nigeria national football team can become powerful in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, but for this purpose the Nigerians need to become a close-knit team and to chase scandals and offenses away.