The Round of 16 at the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA duel of Nigeria and Italy was one of the top games that football fans worldwide voted for to be shown on FIFA TV as the #worldcupathome episode continues.
FIFA introduced the episode to help fans that have been denied football activities worldwide owing to stay-at-home rule occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
For this weekend, four matches were voted for. The other three are Netherlands versus Mexico at Brazil 2014, France versus Argentina at Russia 2018 and the Germany versus Sweden game in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Nigeria and Italy match was shown on Friday night. As three-time world champions and bronze medallists at the previous edition, the Italian Azzurriwere pre-match favourites against a Super Eagles side making their first appearance at the finals.
And while Nigeria came agonisingly close to registering one of the shocks of the tournament, in the end it was Italy who prevailed with Roberto Baggio the hero in an extra-time win that paved the way for another final appearance.
After successive disappointments in the African qualifiers, Nigeria made it to the World Cup for the first time at USA 1994. Drawn in a tough group with Argentina, Greece and Bulgaria, the Super Eagles defied expectations to top the section with wins over Bulgaria and Greece and a loss to Argentina to reach the last 16 on their maiden appearance at the global showpiece.
Italy, on the other hand, struggled to reach the Round of 16. With all four Group E sides (Mexico, Republic of Ireland, Norway and Italy) finishing level on points and goal difference, the Azzurriprogressed to the knockout stage by virtue of scoring one more goal than the Norwegians.