NIGERIA 2-1 JAPAN: Eagles Edge Head-To-Heads With Asian Heavyweights

After missing the football event at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Nigeria U-23s will make a return to the games at Rio 2016 although in less than ideal circumstances.

The former Olympic football champions are drawn in Group B alongside Japan, Sweden and Colombia.

Ahead of their opening game against Japan on Friday morning,'s JAMES AGBEREBI relives the last three encounters between Nigeria and Japan in the football event at the Olympics…


Nigeria's first ever football game at the Olympics was against Japan at the Mexico City 1968 games.

The Nigerian team was drawn alongside Japan, Spain and Brazil in Group B.

And in the game against Japan, the Nigerian team lost 3-1 with Samuel Okoye scoring Nigeria's only goal.

A hat-trick from Kunishige Kamamoto sealed the win for Japan.

Nigeria lost 3-0 to Spain and drew 3-3 with Brazil, thereby crashing out in the group stage.

Meanwhile, Japan went on to win the bronze medal of the football event of the 1968 Olympics after defeating Mexico 2-0 in the third place match.


At the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, Nigeria squared off against Japan in their second group game and avenged their 1968 defeat by emerging 2-0 victors.

After a frustrating 81 minutes, the Nigerian team tagged 'Dream Team' finally broke the Japanese resistance on 82 minutes through Tijani Babangida.

And in the 90th minute, Austin Okocha sealed the win after converting from the penalty spot following deliberate handball by a Japanese player.


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Nigeria matched on to the final after seeing off Mexico 2-0 in the quarter-final and winning 4-3 against Brazil in an epic semi-final clash.

In the final against Argentina, goals from Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Amuneke secured a 3-2 win and saw the Dream Team clinch Africa's first ever men's Olympic football gold medal.


The last time Nigeria met Japan in the men's football event at the Olympics was in their second group game in Beijing 2008.

Needing to win after playing 0-0 against Netherlands in their first game, Nigeria triumphed 2-1 to secure the three points.

Obinna Nsofor opened the scoring for Nigeria before Victor Anichebe made it 2-0.

Yohei Toyoda halved the deficit but coach Samson Siasia's boys held on to claim the points.

The team eventually progressed into the quarter-finals where they overcame Cote d'Ivoire 2-0.

In the semi-final, they thrashed Belgium 4-1 before losing 1-0 to Argentina in the final.

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