The 1994 World Cup was hosted by the United States of America. Argentina, Greece, Nigeria and Bulgaria were in Group D. Nigeria went ahead to top the group dubbed Group of Death.
Bulgaria came second while Argentina progressed as one of the best losers. Greece went home after the group matches. The group was so competitive that the first position was decided by goal difference as all three countries were at 6 points each. Nigeria had +4 goal difference. Bulgaria and Argentina both finished with +3 goal difference each but Bulgaria came second on head to head rule having beaten Argentina 2:0 when the two teams met.
The second group game between Argentina and Nigeria happened to be the last international game for football legend Diego Maradona. The game was played on 25th June, 1994 at Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough (near Boston), Massachusetts. Attendance was 54, 453. Argentina beat Nigeria 2:1. Samson Siasia opened scoring for Nigeria in the 8th minute while Claudio Caniggia equalized for Argentina in the 21st minute and also went on to score the winner in the 28th minute. As would be seen in the pictures below, Maradona was everywhere on the pitch as expected and basically engineered the victory for Argentina. The conspicuous moment was when the Nigerian players were still complaining about an infringement against them, Maradona quickly played the resultant foul kick out to Cannigia who sneaked into the Nigerian box and scored the winning goal. After this very game, Maradona was thrown out of the tournament after testing positive for ephedrine and this was how he left the international scene unceremoniously.
Top Picture: Austin JayJay Okocha (Nigeria’s number 10) and Diego Maradona (Argentina’s number 10)
Captain Peter Rufai and Captain Diego Maradona
Samson Siasia and Maradona
Michael Emenalo and Maradona
Okechukwu Uche and Maradona
Sunday Oliseh and Maradona (Daniel Amokachi watches on)
Chidi Nwanu and Maradona (Rashidi Yekini watches on)
Mutiu Adepoju and Maradona (Augustine Eguaveon backtracks)
Emmanuel Amuneke and Maradona
Samson Siasia races away after scoring against Argentina (Finidi George chases behind)
10-10: Austin JayJay Okocha and Maradona
Argentina Line Up: GK: Luis Islas, DF: Roberto Sensini (DF: Hernan Diaz 88′), DF: Fernando Caceres, DF: Oscar Ruggeri, DF: Jose Chamot: MF: Diego Simeone, MF: Fernando Redondo, MF: Diego Maradona (C), FW: Claudio Caniggia, FW: Gabriel Batistuta and FW: Abel Balbo (MF: Alejandro Mancuso 72′). Coach: Alfio Basile.
Nigeria Line Up: GK: Peter Rufai (C), DF: Augustine Eguavoen, DF: Okechukwu Uche, DF: Chidi Nwanu, DF: Michael Emenalo, MF: Finidi George, MF: Samson Siasia (MF: Mutiu Adepoju 57′), MF: Sunday Oliseh (MF: Austin JayJay Okocha 88′), MF: Emmanuel Amuneke, FW: Rashidi Yekini and FW: Daniel Amokachi. Coach: Clemens Westerhof.
Referee: Bo Karlsson (Sweden)
Assistant Referees: Mikael Erik Everstig (Sweden) and Luc Mattys (Belgium)
Fourth Official: Leslie Mottram (Scotland)
Group D Games:
Argentine 4:0 Greece
Nigeria 3:0 Bulgaria
Argentina 2:1 Nigeria
Bulgaria 4:0 Greece
Argentina 0:2 Bulgaria
Greece 0:2 Nigeria