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40 Greatest Goals in World Cup History: #30 Sunday Oliseh - Nigeria vs Spain ('98)

Sunday Oliseh's screamer sunk Spain in the World Cup in 1998.

ANALYST
Feature 15 May 2018, 15:07 IST
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Sunday
Sunday Oliseh

Football is a sport where legends are created and fairy-tales are scripted. For the majority of the world, a chance at playing the FIFA World Cup is nearly an unachievable dream.

Yet, the sport, in all its glory, every once in a while, allows a David to come up against the Goliath. And there is little arguing that Spain is Goliath.

In 1998, Nigeria had managed to get themselves into the final 32 of the World Cup but were faced with the Herculean task of maneuvering themselves out of the Group of Death. They would have to face stiff resistance from Bulgaria before having to upset Paraguay.

However, none of that compared to what they were faced with in their opening game of the competition - the Herculean task of surviving a Spanish onslaught.

Spain were undefeated in the entire qualifying campaign, a run which stretched back to over 40 games. Nigeria, meanwhile, had an abysmal run gearing up for the World Cup themselves and lost all their international friendlies before the start of the tournament.

No one gave them a chance. No one.

Spain managed to end the first half 2-1 up and were favourites to see the job through in the second half. In the 73th minute, a huge stroke of luck helped the Africans gain parity thanks to an own goal.

5 minutes later, Sunday Oliseh came up with something that will live on in footballing folklore.

Before the match, Oliseh wasn't feeling his best and to calm himself of the nerves, decided to go out and belt a few balls into the back of the net from distance. He says he thundered 9/10 into the back of the net.

We reckon he's telling the truth, because the next time he sighted a ball looping back towards him at 30 yards out, he did this!

A bolt from the blue and David had sunk Goliath. We associate long-range goals with Steven Gerrard but having watched this goal over and over and over again, we can't help but wonder if all the goals from the Liverpool man had a hint of Sunday Oliseh's screamer against Spain.

Dismissing the ball into the back of the net with a thunderous half-volley, all of thirty yards out... It doesn't get much better than this.

Little doubt why it makes our list of 40 Greatest Goals in World Cup history.

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