Goal!!!!!!

The screams of victory were loud and clear in viewing centres, offices, homes and over the radio as motorists drove along highways in state capitals.

Nigerians (especially women this time around) followed not only our darling Super Eagles but the entire competition.

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As the competition progressed, we all shifted allegiance falling in and out of love with some teams as they either crashed out or hung on.

Davids slayed Goliaths, Samsons fell for Delilahs and some Lions failed to roar when it mattered most.

The drama we enjoyed in Russia 2018 was not expected. 

Here are 6 unforgettable moments that Nigerians will continue to talk, chat and look up on the internet.


1. Odion Ighalo's Missed Chances

Coach Gernot Rorh should have learnt from his mistakes by now. His decision to start Odion Ighalo in Nigeria's first two group D matches proved unprofitable.

He quickly switched on Kelechi Iheanacho who looked lively against Iceland but immobile against Argentina.

When Rorh had the chance to switch again, he went back to his preferred choice - Ighalo. As the Eagles fought back from a Lionel Messi goal, supporters in Lagos expected the Eagles to kill of the Argentines when momentum changed hands.

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Sadly, the chances were created but the man in front of goal Odion Ighalo seemed not to have heard the chants back home "We Die Here"!

His words after the match were not helpful either - 

"I apologise to Nigeria. I apologise to my teammates. I take responsibility for this game because I had taken those chances I had that would have made it a different ball game now.

"It's a sad day for me, the boys and the country because we went out in a bad manner and we deserved more in the game. that's football because sometimes you win and sometimes to lose."


2. The National Roar That Followed Ahmed Musa's First Goal Against Iceland

As traditional slow starters on the global stage, fans of the Super Eagles were not surprised when the Eagles flew out smoking for the second half against Iceland.

All our hopes and eyes were on Victor Moses who seemed to have been resting all through his undeserved game time during tournament.

Each time Moses touched the ball Nigerians expected to see the burst of pace and energy he showed in Chelsea all through the season.

Unfortunately, Moses was quite willing to pass the ball back or sideways rather than moving forward.

After Rorh switched to 4-3-3, it became clear that Moses had to run and run he did. But we were all shocked as a nation to see the man who received Moses' pass.

It was the forgotten Ahmed Musa whom we joked about saying "Musa don finish" that brought the nation unspeakable joy and pride.

He struck not once but twice with style and intelligence that made him an instant national hero and quite popular among the millennial.


3. Germany's Grand Exit

Being an underdog nation ourselves, we watched as the high and mighty teams walked away from the football fiesta with their tails between their legs.

The defending champions just failed to kick-start their winning mentality in a group that they ought to have breezed through without sweating.

Mexico, Sweden and South Korea held off the Germans and squashed their hopes of making it to the last 16.

The final group games, which were played simultaneously, were even the most exciting. While the Germans pushed for victory, the Koreans held them at bay for 45 minutes.

Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung became national and continental heros across Asia.

Their successive strikes after the 90 minute broke millions of hearts across Europe and by extension ended the international career of Arsenal midfielder, Mesut Ozil.

The German playmaker was blamed and criticised for the poor performances of the Bavarians and he was forced to bow out under tremendous pressure for meeting with Turkish President Erdogan.

So much for allegations of racism against the DFB.


4. President Grabar-Kitarovic & Her 22 Men

The whole world would remember her for the passionate hugs (to friends and foes) and the broad smile that lit the stage even brighter.

Croatia were truly the team of the tournament and they shocked the world.

Playing through three rounds of extra time against Denmark, Russia and England's Three Lions; these red and white checkers looked sublime.

Character, grit, strength and discipline. They had it all. Coming from behind to win games and heading to a final even when no one really gave them a chance.

Off the field, President Grabar-Kitarovic was the real hero for her country. She showed simplicity, humility, passion and prudence in her dealings.

She flew economy with fans, sat all through the games cheering her team to victory and walked into the dressing room to show her appreciation for their hardwork. 

She showed the world what real leadership looked like and at 50 she looked quite stunning making some Nigerian men wish they could...


5. Referee Nestor Pitana's Cameo

The world watch on as he walked towards the VAR to watch a replay of the alleged hand ball committed by Perisic in the final between Croatia and France.

The argument broke out already in bars, homes and on DSTV's live broadcast between former Super Eagles captain, Jay Jay Okocha and commentator, Andy Townsend.

Pitana turned away from the screen but appeared to have heard a voice in his head before he turned round and returned to the screen for another 2 minutes.

He turned round and pointed to the penalty spot. That decision appears to have swung the final result of the Africannised Le Blue that marched on to global victory.


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