A look back to World Cup 98 – A pitiful display from Spain (Video)

The World Cup of France ’98 was a hugely successful and entertaining tournament. Not only did the hosts go on to thrash Brazil in the final, with mystery and intrigue surrounding Ronaldo’s curious illness the night before the game, but there were plenty of upsets and thrilling games in the earlier rounds. One of those matches was Spain v Nigeria in Group D, with both sides facing off in their first match of the competition.

 Spain are currently at the top of their game and have created history in the process by becoming the first country to retain a European Championship. They also achieved World Cup glory in South Africa in 2010, but twelve years earlier they suffered a huge shock in their opening group game in Nantes. After taking the lead twice, through a free kick from Fernando Hierro and a classic finish from Raul, they were pegged back both times, initially by a header from Adepoju and then a goalkeeping error from Andoni Zubizarreta let a tame effort from Lawal creep in at the near post. However, the best goal was saved for last when Sunday Oliseh lashed in a 30 yard screamer in the 78th minute after a defensive header landed perfectly for him to hit early. 

Obviously affected by the opening game loss, Spain then played out a goalless draw with Paraguay before destroying Bulgaria 6-1 in their final game. Too little, too late from the Spaniards as they finished in third place and exited early. Meanwhile Nigeria managed another victory as they defeated Bulgaria in a close game, before losing to Paraguay in the last match.

Sadly for the ‘Super Eagles’ they were taken apart in the knockout round by a ruthless Denmark side that managed to put four goals past Nigerian keeper Peter Rufai. However, their fans left Europe proud of the fact that they had managed to qualify top of their group and in the process pull off a shock against the mighty Spain.

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