Nigeria kept their 2018 FIFA World Cup dreams alive thanks to a heart-warming 2-0 victory against Iceland on Friday in Volgograd. The win keeps the Super Eagles second in Group D, but what were the records established against the Europeans?
Scandinavian hurdle crossed
Iceland became the first — at the third attempt — Scandinavian nation who Nigeria have beaten at a FIFA World Cup. The Super Eagles had previously fallen to Denmark — 4-1 in 1998 — and Sweden — 2-1 in 2002 — but a bullish performance on Friday evening against Iceland saw them halt that poor record and earn a well-deserved victory.
Heading into the encounter against Iceland, Nigeria had previously never lost or conceded a goal at the FIFA World Cup to a debutant nation.
Twice, against Greece in 1994 (2-0) and Bosnia in 2014 (1-0), the Super Eagles have clipped the wings of newbies and kept clean sheets in the process. The present generation of players, staring elimination in the face at the start of Friday's match, kept their cool to make it three-out-of-three cleansheet wins over debutant nations.
Extend second group game scoring streak
Nigeria found the back of the net for a sixth straight second group-stage match at the FIFA World Cup, thanks to Ahmed Musa‘s brace.
The West Africans extended a strong record which had previously seen a goal each from Samson Siasia (Argentina in 1994), Victor Ikpeba (Bulgaria in 1998), Julius Aghahowa (Sweden in 2002), Kalu Uche (Greece in 2010) and Osaze Odemwingie (Bosnia in 2014).
The latest scoring feat was even more impressive considering; it was the first time Nigeria had scored more than once in the second group game and it was also the first time Nigeria had won at the second time of asking after losing on the opening day.
Ahmed Musa marked his first start at Russia 2018 by creating a few eye catching records with his brace against Iceland.
The 25-year-old Leicester City forward became the first Nigeria international to score at two different World Cup tournaments; is the first Nigerian to twice score a brace at the World Cup (Argentina and Iceland), became Nigeria's all-time FIFA World Cup record goal scorer with his fourth goal in six matches, and more importantly is now the third all-time highest scoring African at the World Cup behind Asamoah Gyan of Ghana (six goals) and Roger Milla of Cameroon (five goals).
Considering his age, Musa should have at least one more FIFA World Cup in him, as he attempts to possibly break that record and seal legendary status across the continent.
There was an unusual record created when Gernot Rohr named his line-up for the Iceland clash. For the first time in the history of Nigeria's FIFA World Cup participation, a single club contributed three players to the Super Eagles' starting XI.
Ahmed Musa, Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho all from Leicester City were entrusted with the task of earning Nigeria's first win of the competition from the start, and it paid massive dividends, as the trio combined to put in a big shift for the Eagles.