World Cup: Nigeria
(Themba Hadebe / AP)
Nigeria's national team poses during its African Cup of Nations match against Egypt on Jan. 12.
Men's ranking: 22
Overall World Cup record: 4-6-1
Coach: Lars Lagerback
Best performance: Second round, 1994, 1998
Overview: The Super Eagles have turned to Lagerback for help, recognizing that the Swedish coach has a proven, albeit modest, track record of tournament success. Lagerback's problem is that Africa's most populous country expects to win it all and its soccer federation is chronically interference-minded. The team does not have anyone remotely as inspiring as former star Jay-Jay Okocha, but Ayegbeni Yakubu, John Mikel Obi and Obafemi Martins will do. Nigeria could cause a stir if its fans travel in numbers to South Africa. -- Grahame L. Jones