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Nigerians relive the pain of losing to Italy at USA ‘94


The Nigeria team poses before a game at the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA PHOTO:

There is something about the USA ’94 Super Eagles that makes them untouchable, peerless to most Nigerians. The team lifted the spirits, had Nigerians on the edge of their seats and was full of adventure. For a team making its debut at the World Cup, the Super Eagles led by Clemens Westerhof showed it was not out of place at the Mundial.

The sound trouncing of Bulgaria set the ball rolling before the setback against a Diego Maradona-led Argentina. The loss didn’t hurt much, Nigeria finished top of the group after smartly dispatching of Greece. Unknown, it was setting Nigerians up collectively for the most harrowing of heartbreaks, the mind-lacerating loss to Italy… in extra time… from the spot…after Austine Eguavoen’s clatter into Antonio Benarrivo.


For @Osi_Suave, his emotion was pitifully encapsulated in a seven-tweet thread. It will not be far-fetched to claim he shed quite a few tears while constructing the thread.

Many still hold their grievance against Eguevoen, Twitter user @KaroOrovboni still holds a grudge against both Eguavoen and Roberto Baggio who tucked away from the penalty. Karo felt the sense of schadenfreude when Baggio missed his penalty in the finals.

Benson Ikponmwonba’s case was different, fed with a rumour that Nigeria would qualify ahead of Italy because the Azurri’s had been disqualified for drug use, he hoped against hope. Reality struck when the Italians filed out against Spain.

Like the King of Uyo, the loss hurt deeply but we hope this time, that is Russia 2018, will be better.

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