Manager: Lars Lagerback
Best: Round two (1994, 1998)
As with Argentina, Nigeria has never performed in a manner fitting its abundance of talented players. The Super Eagles heyday may have come at the 1998 World Cup in France, when Jay Jay Okocha led them to a stunning 3-2 victory over Spain. In a soccer system ravaged by many of the problems of corruption that beset Nigeria's politics, little is expected of the national team 12 years on. Still, coach Lars Lagerback will be looking to craft a solid defensive unit out of his largely Europe-based squad, and hope that one or two of a talented array of forwards Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Peter Odemwingie, Obafemi Martins, John Utaka or the aging but brilliant Nkwankwo Kanu find their form at the tournament. And in John Obi Mikel, they have a solid midfield anchor who plays more of a quarterbacking role in the national team than he does for Chelsea in the English Premier League.
Player to watch: John Obi Mikel. Freed from the exclusively defensive role he plays in his club football, the midfield colossus is a far more influential player for the Super Eagles.
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