Since Nigeria’s premiere at the FIFA World Cup in 1994, the Super Eagles have qualified for every edition of the global competition, except the 2006 World Cup held in Germany.
Super Eagles teams have come and gone over the years, but Nigeria’s best performance at the World Cup still remains the country’s debut to the global showcase.
In six appearances, Nigeria has made it past the group stage into the Round of 16 only three times, crashing out of the tournament in the first stage on other occasions.
Let us take a quick look at the three times Nigeria failed to make it past their groups at the FIFA World Cup.
2002 FIFA World Cup (Korea-Japan)
The very first time Nigeria crashed out of the group stage after USA ’94, was at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea/Japan.
Nigeria was grouped alongside, Sweden, Argentina and England.
Sweden and England qualified from the group into the Round of 16.
The Super Eagles lost their first game 1-0 to Argentina, and were also defeated by Sweden 2-1 in their second encounter of the games.
Nigeria held England to a 0-0 draw in their final game of the tournament, but their late fightback was only just enough to stop Argentina from qualifying.
2010 FIFA World Cup (South Africa)
The next time Nigeria failed to move past the group stage was at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Nigeria was grouped alongside Argentina, South Korea, and Greece.
This time, Argentina and South Korea made it into the Round of 16.
Nigeria lost her first game 1-0 to Argentina, and suffered a 2-1 loss to Greece in their second game.
Again the Super Eagles put up a riveting late fightback against South Korea, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
2018 FIFA World Cup (Russia)
Nigeria’s third group stage exit from the global showcase was in the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia.
The Super Eagles lost their debut game at the 2018 tournament 2-0 to Croatia, before making a 2-0 comeback win against Iceland, to revive the team’s hopes of qualification.
Sadly, the Super Eagles were axed by their global foe, Argentina, in their last game of the tourney.
Argentina and Croatia qualified from the group stage into the next round of the World Cup.
Next time, we’ll look at the three times the Super Eagles broke through their FIFA World Cup groups into the Round of 16.
Featured image source: Premium Times Nigeria