The Super Eagles of Nigeria will officially kick off preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with friendlies against Poland and Serbia on March 23 and March 27 respectively.
Ahead of both friendlies, Completesportsnigeria.com‘s JAMES AGBEREBI recalls memorable friendlies between the Super Eagles and European countries before past World Cups…
GERMANY 1-0 NIGERIA (1998)
The friendly was part of both teams’ preparations ahead of the France 1998 FIFA World Cup.
The game was held in FC Cologne Stadium with Germany pipping the Super Eagles 1-0 thanks to Andreas Möller’s 58th minute goal.
In action for Germany included Oliver Khan, Dietmar Hamann, Oliver Bierhoff, Michael Tarnat and Jens Jeremies.
Ike Shorunmu, Austin Okocha, Taribo West, Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George, Mutiu Adepoju, Daniel Amokachi and Okechukwu Uche all featured for the Super Eagles.
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The outstanding Shorunmu got injured and eventually missed the World Cup.
SCOTLAND 1-2 NIGERIA (2002)
This was the first time ever Scotland and Nigeria would meet at senior level.
The game was one of the Super Eagles’ friendly games towards the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup.
Played in Pittodrie in Aberdeen, Scotland took the lead through Christian Dailly in the seventh minute.
But a brace in the 40th and 69th minutes from Julius Aghahowa secured a 2-1 win for the Super Eagles.
IRELAND 1-2 NIGERIA (2002)
This was the Super Eagles’ last friendly game before they departed for the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup. It was the first meeting at senior level between both countries.
In action for Ireland who also used the game as tune-up for the 2002 World Cup were big stars Roy Keane, Robbie Keane, Shay Given, Ian Hart and Damien Duff.
A goal in each half by Julius Aghahowa and Efe Sodje in the 13th and 47th minutes respectively put the Eagles 2-0 up.
Steven Reid pulled a goal back for Ireland in the 69th minute but the Eagles held on to claim the win.
NETHERLAND 5-1 NIGERIA (1998)
Before heading to France for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the Super Eagles took on Netherlands in their last warm-up game.
The game turned out to be a white-wash as the Netherlands won 5-1.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (32nd minute), Marc Overmars (38th minute), Patrick Kluivert (60th, 74th minutes) and Pierre Van Hooijdonk (77th minute) all scored for Netherlands.
Nwankwo Kanu pulled a goal back for the Super Eagles from the penalty spot after Daniel Amokachi was fouled.
NIGERIA 5-1 GEORGIA (1994)
Goergia were the last team the Super Eagles played a friendly game with before flying out for the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States of America.
The late Rashidi Yekini open scoring for the Eagles on 11 minutes in Ibadan.
Georgia levelled up through Revaz Arveladze on 12 minutes before Yekini scored on 42 minutes to make it 2-1.
Two goals from Samson Siasia in the 58th and 60th minutes gave the Eagles a 4-1 lead.
And in the 65th minute, Mutiu Adepoju completed the rout.
YUGOSLAVIA 3-0 NIGERIA (1998)
After losing to Germany in their first friendly game, the Eagles faced another 1998 World Cup-bound team in Yugoslavia .
Once again the Eagles lost as Yugoslavia triumphed 3-0 to make it two losses in a row for the Bora Milotinovic-led side.
After holding out for most part of the first half, the Eagles’ defence was breached in the 44th minute through Savo Milosevic.
Former Real Madrid star Pedrag Mijatovic doubled Yugoslavia’s lead on 61 minutes before Darko Kovacevic added the third goal in the 72nd minute.
ROMANIA 2-0 NIGERIA (1994)
The Super Eagles’ penultimate friendly game before jetting out to USA for the 1994 World Cup was away to Romania at Steaua Bucuresti’s home ground.
Romania too were also heading to the World Cup and used the game against the Eagles as preparation.
Ilie Dumitrescu and Dan Petrescu both scored in the 22nd and 49th minutes to give the Romanian a 2-0 win.