Finidi George: Why Super Eagles lost to Italy at 1994 World Cup

Finidi George says the scheduling of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is bad news for most European teams.

Former Nigeria international Finidi George has revealed some of the reasons that led to the Super Eagles painful exit at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States.

The Eagles were 1-0 up and had a man advantage over Italy in the round of 16 of the World Cup.

But with two minutes remaining in the game, Roberto Baggio equalised and went on to score a penalty to secure a 2-1 win for Italy.

And recalling what transpired before and after the game, the 1994 AFCON winner, in a radio programme on Wednesday, said: ”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 buy 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 jad tgeir opportunity and scored.

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

And when asked on what he would have done against Italy if he was in Westerhof’s shoes, the 1995 UEFA Champions League winner with Ajax said: ”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 use 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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