Benin Shocks Nigeria with 2-1 Win in World Cup Qualifier

Super Eagles’ World Cup Hopes in Jeopardy After Unexpected Defeat

Gernot Rohr’s Benin Republic team stunned the Super Eagles of Nigeria with a 2-1 victory in Monday’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying match held at Stade Felix-Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan.

After a disappointing 1-1 draw against South Africa on Friday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, the Super Eagles aimed to secure their first win in the qualifiers. However, the loss to Benin means Nigeria has yet to win, drawing three consecutive matches and seriously jeopardizing their chances of making it to the next World Cup.

Benin’s win puts them at the top of Group C with seven points from four matches, while Nigeria is stuck in fifth place with only three points from four games.

Despite Nigeria’s early control of the game, with dominant possession and dictating play, Benin’s effective counter-attacks turned the tide.

Nigeria scored first in the 27th minute when Samuel Chukwueze, after a long pass, set up Raphael Onyedika, who struck the ball into Benin’s net. But the lead was short-lived. In the 37th minute, Jodel Dossou took advantage of Nigeria’s poor defense to equalize. Just before halftime, Benin capitalized on another defensive error. A poorly defended corner allowed Steve Mounie to score, putting Benin ahead 2-1.

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This defeat is a major setback for Nigeria, whose hopes of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup are now in serious doubt. The tournament, to be hosted by Canada, the USA, and Mexico, seems out of reach unless the Super Eagles can improve in the remaining qualifiers.

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) had parted ways with Rohr in December 2021 after five years as head coach. Ironically, the German coach has now led Benin to victory over his former team.

To secure a spot at the 2026 World Cup, Nigeria needs to top their group, with only the group winner guaranteed a place. The four best runners-up will have a chance through a play-off.

The Super Eagles must now significantly improve in their final six qualifying matches to keep their World Cup dreams alive. Their campaign resumes in March 2025 against Rwanda, followed by a home game against Zimbabwe. They will also face South Africa, Lesotho, and Benin later in 2025.

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