On December 1, Nigeria will either be paired with Brazil, Spain and Sweden or Poland, Peru and Costa Rica, or something in between for the group stages of next year’s World Cup. Either way, the Super Eagles will know their group foes on Friday. And as usual, folks have been praying against being place in the ‘Group of Death’ – and please, take that literally.Having played at the World Cup five times previously and making the round of 16 in three of those appearances, it would naturally be expected that the Super Eagles make some progress by getting to at least the quarterfinals next year. Already, there have been talks of a semifinal target, with the NFF boss Amaju Pinnick saying recently that Nigeria can win the World Cup!Truth is, having negotiated a qualifying group that had Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia with such ease, naturally, there is bound to be that air of optimism but how much is too much? How far the Super Eagles go at the tournament will, to an extent, be dependent on the kind of group they find themselves in. Find themselves in a group that possibly has Brazil, Spain and Sweden, then chances of even making the round of 16 would be minute at best, but placed in group with Poland, Peru and Costa Rica, then maybe, they can even think of finishing tops.But then, sometimes, the so-called ‘Group of Death’ is only just a metaphor and really means nothing in the grand scheme of things. So how have the Eagles fared in previous World Cup groups?Nigeria's overall World Cup key statistics and success rate for getting through to the KO stagesUSA ‘94
Group DNigeria 3-0 BulgariaNigeria 1-2 ArgentinaNigeria 2-0 GreeceEnd: Round of 16 after 2-1 loss to ItalyFrance ‘98
Group DNigeria 3-2 SpainNigeria 1-0 BulgariaNigeria 1-3 ParaguayEnd: Round of 16 after 1-4 loss to DenmarkKorea/Japan ‘02
Group FNigeria 0-1 ArgentinaNigeria 1-2 SwedenNigeria 0-0 EnglandEnd: Bottom of groupSouth Africa 2010
Group BNigeria 0-1 ArgentinaNigeria 1-2 GreeceNigeria 2-2 South KoreaEnd: Bottom of groupBrazil 2014
Group FNigeria 0-0 IranNigeria 1-0 BosniaNigeria 2-3 ArgentinaEnd: Round of 16 after 0-2 loss to FranceWhich teams do Nigeria get the most in draws and which teams do Nigeria have the best/worst record against?Obviously, Argentina is the country Nigeria has faced the most at the World Cup. In its five appearances, the Super Eagles have faced the Albiceleste four times and have lost all the encounters – albeit narrowly. However, it is Denmark, whom Nigeria has only played once, that the Africans have the worst record against in a World Cup match. The Danes took the Eagles apart in the round of 16 clash in France ’98, with Nigeria suffering its biggest defeat in a World Cup finals – 4-1 it ended on the day.But the best record the Super Eagles have has to be against Bulgaria, beating the Europeans 3-0 at USA ’94, and 1-0 at France ’98.