Nigeria were expected to improve on their second round efforts of 1994 and 1998 when they went to South Korea and Japan full of optimism in 2002.
But the Super Eagles fell over in the group stage, recording just one point, and since then have fallen away as quickly as they had risen.
Non-qualification in 2006 was a massive downer in the history of Nigerian football when native coach Augustine Eguavoen was at the helm but now with some European influence in Sweden’s Lars Lagerback, the Super Eagles are much better placed going into a major tournament.
Their third-place finish at January’s African Cup of Nations will boost them and the fact that second spot in Group B is theirs for the taking could see the Africans fire through to the second phase for the third time in their history.
Playing schedule: Argentina (Johannesburg) June 12; Greece (Bloemfontein) June 17; South Korea (Durban) June 22
Also known as: Super Eagles
Manager: Lars Lagerback (SWE)
Captain: Nwankwo Kanu
Key players: Obafemi Martins, John Obi Mikel, Vincent Enyeama
Wildcard: Victor Obinna
Player to watch: Chinedu Obasi
Most caps:Mudashiru Lawal (86). Of this squad: Nwankwo Kanu (82)
Top goalscorer: Rashid Yekin (37). Of this squad: Yakubu Aiyegbeni (19)
FIFA ranking: 21
Qualifying: 5th in CAF group stage.
Best result: Round of 16 – 1994 & 1998
Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv)
Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei Yehuda)
Austin Ejide (Hapoel Petach Tikvah)
Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Everton)
Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth)
Obafemi Martins (Wolfsburg)
John Utaka (Portsmouth)
Victor Obinna Nsofor (Malaga)
Osaze Odemwingie (Lokomotiv Moscow)
Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi (Hoffenheim)
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