Nigeria’s most celebrated victory at the World Cup is arguably the comeback win over Spain at the 1998 Mundial in France
Super Eagles legend Sunday Oliseh has shared a cute photograph of him meeting with one-time Real Madrid captain Fernando Hierro at the Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar.
Both former internationals played crucial roles in serving up easily Nigeria’s greatest victory at the FIFA World Cup.
In both countries’ opening match of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Nigeria twice came from behind to stun title favourites Spain 3-2 inside the Stade de la Beaujoire – Louis Fonteneau.
Influential centre-back Hierro gave the Spaniards the lead in the 21st minute, expertly guiding a fine free-kick past Peter Rufai in the Nigerian goal.
But the Super Eagles struck back within three minutes, midfielder Mutiu Adepoju heading home the equaliser from an inch-perfect corner-kick.
Raul Gonzalez stole in at the back post to score Spain’s second shortly after the halftime break.
Nigeria m, though, got back on levelled terms in an awkward fashion. Spain’s goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta redirected a seemingly harmless Garba Lawal cross into his own net for 2-2.
If the Super Eagles’ second goal was fortuitous, the third goal was heavenly – worthy of winning any classic any day. It remains arguably Nigeria’s best goal at the Mundial.
And it came off the boot of Sunday Oliseh. Hierro headed out a Nigerian corner-kick only as far as Oliseh, and the former Juventus midfielder volleyed the ball with venom into the net from 25 yards, leaving Zubizarreta with no chance.
Now a member of FIFA’s Technical Study Group, Oliseh was pleased to meet Hierro again 24 years after that encounter. And the two enjoyed a good laugh.
“At the Al Thumama Stadium to work on Senegal vs Qatar, guess who I ran into? Spanish legend Fernando Hierro (middle), the last time I met him, he was heading the ball out to my direction as I was blessed to strike the goal versus Spain in France ’98. We had lots of laughs,” Oliseh wrote on Twitter.
At the Al Thumama Stadium to work on Senegal vs Qatar,, guess who I ran into? Spanish legend Fernando Hierro (middle),the last time I met him, he was heading the ball out to my direction as I was blessed to strike the goal versus Spain in France '98. We had lots of laughs.. pic.twitter.com/CeDHI2xNx2— Sunday Oliseh (@SundayOOliseh) November 25, 2022
While Spain crashed out, Nigeria made it out of Group D in France 1998 as group leaders but lost out to Denmark in the Round of 16.