Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Nigeria Will Ride Momentum to World Cup Success

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Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Nigeria Will Ride Momentum to World Cup Success
Ian Walton/Getty Images

The Nigerian Super Eagles will take the experience and confidence gained in their championship at the Africa Cup of Nations into the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and parlay that into a nice run.

On Sunday, Nigeria took down Burkina Faso, 1-0. The game's only goal came in the first half on a brilliant play by Sunday Mba.

The midfielder got a ricochet near the edge of the box, volleyed over a defender and then perfectly struck it with his left foot for a score. 

Gallo Images/Getty Images

This was all Nigeria needed to complete their dominant run in the Africa Cup of Nations. It was their first appearance in the finals since their loss in penalties to Cameroon in 2000, and their first title in the tournament since 1994. 

The '94 team was captained by Nigeria's current coach Stephen Keshi

Keshi has this group playing with confidence, and they are starting to peak just in time for the upcoming World Cup. 

Nigeria's next step in the march towards the World Cup is a March 22 meeting with Kenya in Abuja for a qualifying match. Prior to that, they're going to gain even more top-notch experience in the upcoming Confederations Cup, locked in a group with mighty Spain, Uruguay and Tahiti.

Nigeria has their work cut out for them if they want to hang with world No. 1 Spain or world No. 16 Uruguay, but the experience of playing with these elite teams will prepare them for intense play of the World Cup.  

Nigeria is a modest 4-2-8 in World Cup play, but they have made the second round in 1994 and 1998. 

So, just like their 1994 Africa Cup of Nations title helped propel them to the second round of the World Cup, Keshi will help ensure that this squad makes a similar run. 

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