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Finidi George Reveals Why Nigeria Lost To Italy At 1994 World Cup

Former Super Eagles player Finidi George has revealed what led to the painful exit of Nigeria’s senior team at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States.

Nigeria was leading 1-0 against a 10-man Italy, which raised hopes that the Eagles will make it to the quarterfinals.

But Italy struck two minutes to the end of the game with Roberto Baggio’s equaliser and penalty to make it 2-1.

Recalling the experience, Finidi who also won AFCON 1994, spoke in a radio programme ‘Take One’s on Brila FM on Wednesday: “That game against Italy, we would have won it but we had some issues before the game whereby (Clemens) Westerhof was not happy with the situation in the hotel. Too many visitors at every given time.

“So he wanted to move the team from that hotel but did not consult the players and we didn’t want to move. He told us just an hour before that we would be leaving but it was too short a time to do that. We didn’t want to leave so Westerhof left and said he was going to resign, he left the hotel and they looked for him and brought him back.

“That was an off field problem we had but during the game we should have done a better job. I don’t know maybe because of experience we didn’t know what to do, maybe we felt a little bit nervous and they had their opportunity and scored.

“After the game we were all sad. Some players were so angry that they confronted Westerhof. They felt the choices he made for the match was not the best.”

When asked what he would have done differently if he were the coach, Finidi replied: “If I was the coach, the starters would have been different. Though we’ve been winning before the Italy game but for me in a crucial game I would have kept the team. I wouldn’t have made a change, maybe one or two changes.

“I would have kept the team the way it used to be. As a coach what is working you keep it that way, you don’t change things in a crucial game like that.”

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