Peter Odemwingie says Nigeria can now follow Saturday night’s narrow win over Bosnia-Hercegovina, up with better results in their bid to reach the round of 16 for the first time since France 1998.
Nigeria secured their first World Cup win in ten matches at the expense of a resolute Bosnian team making their first appearance.
The win in Cuiaba means the African champions need just a point against Argentina to advance into the knock-out phase of the tournament, as Iran could still qualify with a win against the ‘Golden Lillies’, if Nigeria lose against Group F leaders.
“From now on we are looking upwards,” the Stoke City forward said after slotting underneath club team-mate Asmir Begovic from seven yards in the first-half of his side’s 1-0 win.
“Hopefully this win is enough to get us into the second round and after that to be inspired.”
After spilling two points in their opening game against Iran, the Super Eagles came into the penultimate group game, playing for all or nothing. An early display of nerves from the coach Stephen Keshi-led team would have been punished by Edin Dzeko’s early strike, however the linesman signaled for offside.
Moments after the scare had been nullified, the ex-Bendel Insurance man grabbed his first Super Eagles goals in four years.
Bosnia came close to restoring their feet back on the South American soil, but Vincent Enyeama’s heroic got the better of a couple of Dzeko’s attempt in the closing stages of the match.
Odemwingie told Fifa.com: “We have waited so long for this victory. I’m so happy for the country, our fans, the team. It was maybe one of the hardest three points in my career, though.”
Having started last Monday’s dour draw with Iran on the bench, the 32-year-old now hopes to have struck a chord in the minds of coach Keshi ahead of Wednesday’s final group game against Argentina.
“I earned myself a starting position and it was important to work hard today to keep it, especially before a big game like Argentina, which is a dream for every player to play in,” Odemwingie said.