It was a delightful crop of players that stormed the 1994 World Cup, brushing aside Bulgaria and Greece 3-0 and 2-0 respectively before succumbing to the superior power of the Argentinian 2-1.
The Super Eagles however topped their group and qualified for the second round where they played former world champions Italy.
Nigeria was within one minute of qualifying for the Quarter finals of the 1994 world cup in the game against Italy, when Roberto Baggio scored to take the game into extra time. He also scored the winning goal for Italy.
In 1998 France hosted the World Cup, with Nigeria qualified alongside Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia, and South Africa for a second consecutive time.
With optimism running so high due to the return of most 1994 squad members, the Super Eagles created one of the biggest upsets in football history in their opening game, by defeating Spain 3-2, in a pulsating encounter at the La Beaujoire stadium in Nantes France, where creative midfielder Sunday Oliseh scored one of the best goals of the tournament through a blistering 45 meters cannon from outside the 18 yard box, to beat veteran Spanish goalkeeper Zubizereta, who was forced to go into retirement. That victory propelled the rating of the Super Eagles World wide, and Sunday Oliseh goal was celebrated in major television stations worldwide as a classical masterpiece.
The Super Eagles then went ahead to qualify for the second round with win against Bulgaria 1-0, despite losing their last group match 3-1 to Paraguay.
Their hope of making it to the last eight was shattered by Denmark who walloped the Super Eagles 4-1 in the second round encounter.
The 2002 FIFA World cup co-hosted by Korea and Japan saw Nigeria Qualifying for the third straight time with great optimism.
With a brand new squad and a new indigenous coach Onigbinde Adegboye, Nigerians back home had so many reasons to be hopeful of a good outing.
The Super Eagles were drawn in group F that was then regarded as the «group of death» alongside Sweden, Argentina, and England.
It was an early flight home for the Super Eagles after successive defeat in the hands of Argentina 1-0 and Sweden 2-1.
A scoreless draw against England was not good enough for a second round ticket.
The Super Eagles narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2006 World Cup.
The group’s sole ticket was grabbed by Palancas Negras of Angola, which had a superior goal difference than the Super Eagles.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup which was hosted by South Africa did not go as expected, as Nigeria was humbled 1-0 by a resilient Argentina side which was inspired by Lionel Messi. The goal margin would have been more, but for the heroic of goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. In their second match, the Super Eagles were once again defeated by an under performing Greece 2-1 before they managed a 2-2 draw with South Korea. The solitary point was not sufficient to take Nigeria to the second round.