It was a wet Nantes, France afternoon in the La Beaujoire Stadium. As Spain walked out to play their first ever tie against African opposition in a World Cup final. Their opponent, Nigeria, would play a part in arguably the best game of the tournament, a five goal thriller.
Javier Clemente's team was undefeated in qualifying, and hadn't traveled far from the other side of the Pyrenees for their first round clash.
The Spaniards were favored to win a group stage that included Paraguay and Bulgaria, along with Nigeria. The Spanish side was full of household names like Andoni Zubizarreta, Fernando Hierro and Raul.
The latter two had just come off a European Cup with real Madrid. They were in for a huge surprise.
Clemente didn't take the Nigerians, or Bora Milutinovic's team, for granted.
After the 1994 World Cup, the footballing world became well aware of how the Nigerian's strong footballing nation, making it to the final 16.
Serbian Bora Milutinovic, who had lead four other nations to the World Cup finals in previous years, had won the Olympic Gold medal with his young, talented side two years earlier. Milutonovic was well aware of Spain's threat. He prepared his squad well for the clash.
Spain hit the ground running with a great start, and neat passing kept the Super Eagles at a distance. Raul gave the Nigerians a scare when he had a shot stopped by keeper Peter Rufai in the second minute.
Raul followed this with a header to the Nigeria crossbar, but the constant Spanish pressure turned into a goal in the 21st minute.
Mobi Oparaku brought down Alfonso Perez on the edge of the box, giving an opportunity to free-kick specialist Hierro. Hierro curled a beautiful low strike around the wall, passing the space between Alfonso and the stranded Rufai.
One-nil to Spain.
The wounded Eagles brought the Spaniards crashing back to earth three minutes later.
Mutiu Adepoju broke between two white Spanish shirts at the near post to head Garba Lawal's corner past Zubizarreta. Albert Ferrer was on the line, and tried to head clear. But he only helped the ball into the net. The game was all tied at one-one.
Inspired by their equalizer, the Super Eagles sought a second goal with Victor Ikpeba hitting the side netting two minutes after the restart.
The pendulum swung back to Spain, thanks to a superb shot by Raul. Latching onto a splendid ball from his Madrid teammate Hierro, the striker slotted a shot past Rufai. 2-1 to La Roja.
Clemente's team dictated the play with the partisan crowd shouting "Ole" at every pass. But the Spanish fans' bravado would prove premature.
With Spain looking every bit the victors, they somehow managed to let the Super Eagles off the hook with an uncharacteristic error by Zubizarreta in the 73rd minute.
Lawal executed some neat passing with substitute Rasheed Yekini, shrugging off a stiff challenge from Ivan Campo to get to the byline. But his weak, low cross wasn't dangerous until Zubizarreta unfathomably palmed the ball into his own net.
Two-two with just over fifteen minutes left on the clock.
A few minutes later, Raul was unmarked, but missed a clear chance from a Joseba Etxeberria's cross. Nigeria now sat in the driver's seat.
12 minutes from time, Sunday Oliseh broke the tie in sublime style.
A long flighted cross into the Spain box was headed out only as far as the Oliseh and from 25 yards, his thunderous half volley was hit back towards goal, leaving Zubizarreta with no chance. Three-two to the Super Eagles.
It was a psychological blow from which the Spaniards never recovered.
They played out a dull, goal-less draw with Paraguay in their second match and, despite thumping Bulgaria 6-1, results elsewhere meant they were out.
The Super Eagles progressed as group winners.