Goal chronicles the key numbers that have marked the Super Eagles participation at the quadrennial world football fiesta
By Shina Oludare
As the Super Eagles prepare for their fifth appearance at the Fifa World Cup in Brazil, Goal gives an account of the Nigeria national team's outing in the competition’s history in numbers.
1- The number of red cards received by any Super Eagles player since making their debut at the USA 1994 World Cup. Sani Kaita was given his marching orders by referee Olegario Benquerenca in the 33rd minute against Greece in a group stage game at the Durban Stadium on June 6, 2010.
Sani Kaita | The only Eagle to be sent off at the World Cup
2- The number of times Nigeria have drawn a game at the tournament. The first was recorded against England in Korea/Japan 2002 while the second was in the country’s last group game versus South Korea that ended 2-2 four years ago.
2- The number of goals scored by Kalu Uche, Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Amuneke who are Nigeria’s joint highest goal scorers.
3- The number of times Nigeria have faced Argentina, with the Super Eagles losing every time to the South Americans. Both countries will meet at this year's edition in Brazil for a record fourth time.
4- The number of games Nigeria have won in four Fifa World Cup tournaments, a record that falls far short of the all-time record (held by Brazil with 67 wins). The Super Eagles have lost eight matches while they have secured a draw just twice.
"Siasia is remembered fondly for scoring Nigeria's fastest goal in the Fifa World Cup."
4- This number also represents the most goals conceded in a single match by Nigeria at the mundial. The Super Eagles were spanked 4-1 by Denmark in a second round encounter at France 98 in a match played at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis on June 28, 1998.
4- The number of victories over European countries by the Super Eagles. They defeated Bulgaria and Greece at USA '94 and Spain and Bulgaria at France '98.
7- Most goals scored in a tournament. This was achieved at USA 94 where Clemens Westerhof’s Eagles found the back of the net seven times in four games. Whereas at South Korea/Japan 2002, Nigeria recorded their least number of goals with just one, from Julius Aghaowa, against Sweden in a 2-1 defeat.
8- The number of minutes when Samson Siasia scored Nigeria’s fastest goal in World Cup history. He achieved this feat with his strike on June 25, 1994 against Argentina at the Foxborough Stadium.
9- This figure accounts for the most appearances made by a Nigerian player in senior World Cup history. Austine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha boasts of this record with nine games in three Fifa World Cups. He made six starts with three from the substitutes' bench, winning three games, losing five and drawing one.
Jay Jay | Most capped Nigerian
14- The number of matches Nigeria have played at Fifa World Cups, making them the second-highest playing African country in the history of the competition after Cameroon. This figure also represents the total number of points gathered by the country in all World Cup matches to date. Cameroon boast of the most points (19) by an African team at the tournament while Brazil (216) have the most points gathered by any country in the history of the World Cup.
15- The number of times Nigeria have failed to make it to the world stage. Their first black-out was at the inaugural edition staged in Uruguay in 1930, and they remained on the outside until Italia 90, before eventually making their debut in the 15th edition hosted by the United State of America. The country last missed out of the competition in 2006 when Angola beat them to the ticket.
Super Eagles | All-Time Stats
World Cup 2002 squad
17- The total number of goals Nigeria have scored in all Fifa World Cups, they have conceded 21 goals in the same number of outings. The Super Eagles also boast of these same number of shots on goal in the history of the competition which makes them the best African team in terms of attacking prowess.
17- Femi Opabunmi is the youngest-ever Nigerian to have represented the country at 17 years, three months and nine days. He is the third youngest player ever after Northern Ireland’s Norman Whiteside (17years, one month and 10 days) at Espana '82 and Cameroonian forward Samuel Eto’o Fils (17years, three months and seven days) at France '98.
20- Julius Aghahowa is the youngest Nigerian player to score at the Fifa World Cup at the age of 20 years and four months. He achieved this feat at the Home’s Stadium in Kobe where the Super Eagles lost 2-1 to Sweden. Aghahowa’s 27th minute strike put the Nigerians ahead before Henrik Larsson’s brace caged the Eagles.
Julius Aghahowa | Celebrates his goal against Sweden
21- On June 21, 1994 at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Nigeria made her debut in the Fifa World Cup by beating Bulgaria 3-0 with goals from Rashidi Yekini, Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Amunike.
24- The number of yellow cards Nigeria have bagged in four appearances at the World Cup, an average of six cautions per tournament.
30- Nigeria’s oldest goal scorer in Fifa World Cup history is Rashidi Yekini at age 30 and eight months. The goal came against Bulgaria on June 21, 1994 at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. Incidentally, it was Nigeria’s first World Cup goal.
34- Legendary goalkeeper Peter Rufai is the oldest Super Eagles player to feature at the Fifa World Cup at 34 years and 10 months. His last game was in Nigeria's 4-1 spanking by Denmark on June 28, 1998.
Peter Rufai | Oldest Nigerian to play at the World Cup
37 – The country is ranked as the 37th best country ever to have participated in the senior World Cup. Nigeria occupy the third spot in Africa with Cameroon occupying the 28th position in the world while Ghana, with just two appearances, are placed 34th.
77- The minute in which Sunday Oliseh scored Nigeria's winning goal in a 3-2 defeat of pre-tournament favourites Spain at Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes on June 13, 1998. The cracker is regarded among the best World Cup goals.
77,000- This is the record number of spectators to watch a Super Eagles game in the World Cup. This was set on June 28, 1998 at Stade de France in Nigeria’s second round 4-1 defeat against Denmark. The former European champions won with goals from Peter Moller, Brian Laudrup, Michael Laudrup, and Thomas Helveg. Tijani Babangida’s 77th-minute strike was little more than scant consolation.