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Nigeria World Cup Scorers at the 1998 FIFA World Cup Hosted by France
Nigeria qualified to represent Africa at the 1998 FIFA World Cup hosted by Spain along with other Africans – Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia and South Africa. It was a tournament that saw the return of most of the team members who participated in the 1994 World Cup. The 1998 FIFA World Cup witnessed some sensational goals and the Nigeria Super Eagles were not left out in the goal feast. Below is a profile of Nigeria’s goalscorers in France 1998.
- Mutiu Adepoju
Mutiu Adepoju, who was popularly referred to as ‘The Director’, scored a classic opening goal with a header in the 24th minute of the game in Nigeria’s first match against Spain. His equalizer canceled out Fernando Hierro’s strike in the 21st minute. Back then he was trading with Spanish outfit – Racing Santander
- Garba Lawal
Garba Lawal forced Spanish goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta into a foul that resulted in an own goal. The goal was scored by an aimless shot from the left wing, which Zubizarreta subsequently deflected into his own net to equalize at 2:2.
- Sunday Oliseh
Nigeria’s best goal at the 1998 FIFA World Cup was scored by Nigeria attacking midfielder Sunday Oliseh in Nigeria’s opening game against Spain. He scored via an impressive 45-metre cannonball from the 18-yard line, beating veteran Spanish goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta. The goal was later replayed on major television channels during and after the World Cup. Oliseh’s thunderous goal on Sunday sealed victory for the Super Eagles of Nigeria and became the biggest disappointment of the tournament. The match ended 3:2 after regular time.
- Victor Ikpeba
Nigeria striker Victor Ikpeba scored the lone goal to seal Nigeria’s victory against Greece in the 28th minute of the first half. Ikpeba, then playing for French side Monaco, later became known as the “Prince of Monaco” due to his goalscoring exploits in Monaco.
- Wilson Oruma
Wilson Oruma, who played as an attacking midfielder at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, scored a sensational goal in the 11th minute that left a real scar in Nigeria’s third and final group game against Paraguay. His only goal could not prevent Paraguay from defeating Nigeria 3-1.
- Tijani Babangida
Tiny right winger Tijani Babangida was on the scoresheet when Nigeria were thrashed 4-1 by Denmark in the 1998 FIFA World Cup Round of 16. It was a game in which Danish striker Ebbe Sand created history as a substitute who scored. the fastest goal in the FIFA World Cup. Immediately after arriving on the field, he scored in the 59th minute of the second half.
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