General Happier Times: Super Eagles Best World Cup Performances


Following a narrow away goals defeat to Ghana the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar is now nothing but a dream for the Super Eagles.

Whilst the Black Stars jet off to the Middle East, Nigeria’s squad and fans will remain at home wondering just what might have been. The World Cup does nevertheless remain a huge spectacle, both from a viewing and a betting perspective, and anyone seeking to place a bet on the tournament - even in the absence of Nigeria - should be sure to check out the best New licensed betting sites.

In the meantime, rather than dwell on the current disappointment, why not reminisce a little in taking a look back at Nigeria’s three greatest World Cup Finals displays.

USA 1994: Debut on the Big Stage​

The long wait for a first World Cup Finals appearance finally came to an end in 1994, and the Super Eagles did the nation proud. An opening 3-0 win over Bulgaria sparked memorable celebrations – Rashidi Yekini in the back of the net, and Daniel Amokachi dancing on the touchline – with further group stage highlights coming in a narrow loss to Argentina and Amokachi’s thunderous strike to see off Greece.

Nigeria were then a mere two minutes from making it through to the quarter finals, only to be undone by a late Roberto Baggio equaliser, with the “Divine Ponytail” then hitting the winner from the spot in extra time to send Italy through. Nevertheless, as far as World Cup debut’s go, this was a fine effort, and once which won the Super Eagles admirers all around the world.

France 1998: Sunday Sinks Spain​

Fast forward four years to France 1998 and Nigeria were once again plunged into the same group as Bulgaria, with European giants Spain and a promising Paraguay outfit filling out the section. The opening game produced what many view as the greatest ever Nigerian performance, with the Super Eagles twice coming from behind to beat Spain 3-2 – Sunday Oliseh conjuring a goal fit to win any match when launching a twenty-five-yard volley into the left-hand side with twelve minutes to play.

Oliseh and co qualified from the Group with a game to spare, moving on to a round of 16 clash with Denmark. It all went wrong in a 4-1 defeat at the Stade de France, but having spent so long in the international wilderness, Nigeria had once again shown they belonged at the top table.

Brazil 2014: Last Sixteen the Stumbling Block Once More​

Placed in the same section as Iran, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Argentina, Nigeria were fancied by many to make it through. A disappointing goalless draw with Iran in the opener did put the Super Eagles under pressure, but a scrappy Peter Odemwingie goal was enough to edge past Edin Džeko’s Bosnia & Herzegovina in their second fixture, and ultimately carry the side through to the knockout phase..

It is perhaps for their third group game that this tournament is best remembered though, as Nigeria played their part in a thrilling 3-2 defeat to a Lionel Messi inspired Argentina – Ahmed Musa matching the brace of the Argentinian magician, only for substitute Marcos Roja to nick the points for the South American side. France lay in wait in the round of 16, and despite a typically spirited effort, a header from Paul Pogba and a Joseph Yobo own goal ended their participation in the competition at the Last 16 stage once more.

Will Nigeria ever make it beyond the Round of 16? We will have to wait until at least 2026 to find out, but as the Super Eagles have shown in the past, they are certainly capable of flying high on the big stage.