Nigeria's Football World Cup History

Nigeria are one of the giants of African football having won three Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) titles.
The Super Eagles have qualified for six of the last seven FIFA World Cups, missing only the 2006 edition.
We take a look at their history in the most prestigious football tournament in the world.

1994 World Cup - USA

Nigeria made their debut appearance in the World Cup finals in 1994 after years of struggling to get there and were coached by Dutchman Clemens Westerhof at the time.
The Super Eagles stunned the world by finishing at the top of their group having defeated European teams Bulgaria and Greece before they lost to a much-fancied Argentina side.
However, the Africans were eliminated from the competition after losing against former world champions Italy, in extra-time having taken lead through Emmanuel Amunike.

“I remember a lot of things I did when I was the coach of the Nigerian team in 1994 when we qualified for the World Cup in the USA," Westerhoff said on AOI Football. 

“I took Nigeria from 79th position to 5th on the FIFA world rankings, that was an unthinkable milestone and that has been its highest till date, right?"

Nwankwo Kanu in Nigeria colours

1998 World Cup - France

The West African giants made their second successive appearance in the tournament and optimism was high due to its Serbian coach Bora Milutinović.
Nigeria, who had Nwankwo Kanu, produced a major upset by defeating a formidable Spain side. They also defeated Bulgaria again, before ending their group stage campaign with a loss to Paraguay.
The Super Eagles reached the second round as Group D winners, but their hopes of surpassing their 1994 performance was shattered after losing to Denmark.

Have you tried out Virtual Sports Betting yet? 


2002 World Cup - Korea/Japan

Nigeria came into the competition oozing with confidence having performed well at the 2000 and 2002 AFCON finals.
However, they were pitted against strong teams in Sweden, England and Argentina in Group F, and were seen as the underdogs.
The Super Eagles bowed out of the tournament in the first round for the first time after recording defeats against Sweden and Argentina, and a draw with England.

2010 World Cup - South Africa

The Super Eagles made their return to the World Cup finals after missing out on the 2006 tournament which was hosted by Germany.
Nigeria endured a disappointing group stage campaign under the guidance of Swedish coach Lars Lagerback, having been pitted against Argentina, South Korea and Greece.
They registered defeats against Argentina and Greece in their first two matches, and they crashed out of the competition after drawing with South Korea.
Joseph Yobo in Nigeria colours

2014 World Cup - Brazil

Nigeria were hoping to reach the knockout stage for the first time since 1998 and were under the guidance of legendary Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi in 2014.
Once again the West African giants were pitted against Argentina, who defeated them, but they secured a win over Bosnia and Hergonivia, and a draw with Iran.
The Super Eagles advanced to the Round of 16 where they were beaten by France and eliminated from the competition.

"This is it. I can look back on my career with great pride," Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo said on BBC after the tournament as he announced his retirement from international football.

"It's time to give a chance to other people to come through. Our football has a bright future and I am confident this team can achieve success sooner rather than later."

"I wanted to leave on a high for my country. Defeat by France was not the right way to go but I'm happy with all I've done for the national team."

2018 World Cup - Russia

The Super Eagles qualified for their third successive World Cup finals and drew a familiar foe in Argentina in the group stage.
They started their Group D campaign with a defeat to eventual runners-up, Croatia, but Ahmed Musa's brace inspired Nigeria to a win over Iceland.
However, Gernot Rohr's men bowed out of the competition after succumbing to a narrow defeat to Argentina in their last match of the tournament.

Betway’s More than Sport 100 promotion is here to keep you entertained until the world of sport returns to normal. Every day, you’ll stand a chance of winning 1 of 100 daily cash prizes. At the end of every week, one lucky winner will win a NGN 50,000 Golden Ticket.

more than sports

With all of the top leagues, matches and tournaments being postponed, we’ve got our super subs – betgamesLive Casino and Lucky Numbers – ready to step in and keep the action alive until your favourite matches kick-off again. Beat the break and bet on anyone of our other exciting products including betgames, Live Casino and Lucky Numbers.


For all the latest sports news, betting tips and promotions, follow Betway Nigeria on 

FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube

Published: 04/06/2020