Colombia National Football Team Famous Player On Colombia Soccer Team The Amazing Story of the Nigeria Olympic Dream Team

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The Amazing Story of the Nigeria Olympic Dream Team

Dream Team One was coached by Dutchman Johannes Bonfrère and entered the final after losing 1-0 to the enterprising Brazilians before finishing the first round with 1-0 wins over Hungary and 2-0 over Japan. The Africans then set up a pair of stunning matches to shut out Mexico, led by eccentric goalkeeper Jorge Campos, 2-0 in the quarter-finals.

After losing 3-1 to a Brazil side that boasted Bebeto, Ronaldo and Rivaldo in the semi-finals, Nigeria finally woke up in the 78th minute when Victor Ikpeba scored from 20 meters out. With time running out, inspirational captain Nwankwo Kanu made his way through the middle and leveled in front of goal in the last minute. Just three minutes into extra time, Kanu completed the greatest comeback in international football history by firing home the game-winner from 16 meters in what many observers felt was the greatest Olympic football match of all time.

The Dream Team went on to pull off another miraculous comeback against Argentina in the gold medal game in front of a crowd of 86,117 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. At the end of 90 minutes of exciting football, Nigeria beat Argentina.

Claudio López’s header in the third minute and Hernan Crespo’s penalty kick in the 50th minute gave Argentina a 2-1 lead. The resilient Dream Team One made a strong comeback in the game and equalized in the 74th minute of the game when striker Daniel Amokachi scored the decisive goal. With a minute remaining, super substitute Emmanuel Amuneke scored the winning goal to give Nigeria a 3-2 win.

It was an important day in the history of Nigeria football, as the international football community celebrated a rare feat by an African team.

Dream Team Two

With the success of Dream Team I in Atlanta 1996, the pressure was on for Dream Team Two to perform as expected at the 2000 Olympics held in the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia.

The team did not lack quality players, as they had: Victor Agali, Yakubu Ayegbeni, Garba Lawal and Celestine Babayaro in their squad, but unfortunately, they were knocked out in the quarter-finals. In their first match, Dream Team Two drew 3–3 with Honduras, while in their second match they defeated Australia 3–2. They drew 1-1 with Italy before taking on Chile in the quarter-finals. It was an encounter that exposed the inadequacy of Dream Team Two, as they were humiliated 4-1 by an inspired Chile side.

Nigeria Dream Team Three-Dreams never last

The dream died in 2004, when the Nigerian Olympic football team, then known as: The Dream Team Three, failed to reach the African qualifiers. Tunisia qualified for Athens 2004 at the expense of the Nigeria Dream Team Three with an embarrassing 2-0 defeat of Nigeria in their final group match in Tunis. The team representing the country at the 8th All African Games hosted by Nigeria stormed to the finals of the football tournament, losing 2-0 to Cameroon at the ultra modern Abuja National Stadium.

Dream Team Four- The rebirth of the Nigeria Olympic team

The dream was rekindled in 2008 when a group of talented footballers from the U-20 team that won silver at the World Youth Championship in Holland in 2005 hit Beijing for the Olympic Football Tournament. Coach Samson Siasia, one of the best youth coaches in Nigeria, took him to the Olympics. Paired in Group B with heavyweights like the Netherlands, Japan and the United States, the Dream Team Four opened their Olympic football campaign with a 0-0 draw with the Netherlands, before posting a morale-boosting 2-1 win. Japan. They confirmed their supremacy in the group with another 2-1 win over the United States. Ivory Coast lost 2-0 in the quarter-finals under coach Samson Siasia.

The semi-final pair saw the best of the Dream Team Four, as they ran riot against a Belgian side that desperately tried to contain the Nigerians. The match ended 4-1 in favor of Nigeria and once again the die was cast in a tight encounter between Nigeria and arch rivals Argentina. It was a repeat of the 2005 U-20 World Cup in Holland, as the main cast was still very much on both sides. Nigerians chanted for revenge and Lionel Messi fought back in his bid to win a second Olympic football gold medal since 1996. It was a close encounter which was decided by the lone goal in the 58th minute. Argentina’s Angel Di Maria plays. The Dream Team Four once again had to play second fiddle to an experienced Argentina side, as they lost 1-0.

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