This post is dedicated to a special someone.
Sweden vs Nigeria -- (2-1)
Sweden tried to get in front early..... Henrik Larsson to Marcus Allback, whose shot was deflected wide.... then Olof Mellberg tried a long range shot that flew over the bar.
Nigeria's passing was disappointing too, with Celestine Babayaro failing to get on the end of Jay-Jay Okocha's inviting cross.
-- GOAL -- 0-1.
Nigeria must have watched the England vs Sweden video and noticed that Magnus Hedman was weak at anticipating headers on high balls. Julius Agahowa met the left wing cross to header past the flapping Hedman in the 27th minute.
In celebration, Agahowa performed six successive backflips and a high backward somersault to earn a 9.9 from the Olympic judges.
-- GOAL -- 1-1
Henrik Larsson equalised for Sweden eight minutes later, shaking off Taribo West to cooly plant the ball past Ike Shoronmu.
Nigeria could have taken the lead again shortly after as Jay-Jay Okocha ran through the Swedish defense and tried a shot from the left of the area. Teddy Lucic kicked the ball away but it bounced off the late arriving Johan Mjallby and back towards the goal...... saved only by the post.
Half-time: Sweden 1 -- Nigeria 1
Three minutes after the re-start, Hedman made amends by catching Babayaro's high cross, that looked dangerously like another headed goal in the making.
Nigeria were reduced to ten men for a while, as Taribo West received stitches on the sideline; after getting a cut above his left eye.
-- GOAL -- 2-1
Henrik Larsson scored his second goal, from the penalty spot, to put Sweden in front in the 62nd minute.
A bandaged Taribo West returned to the pitch, with less than hour to go, after changing his blood-spattered shirt.
Defeat here for Nigeria would mean elimination from the tournament, so striker Nwankwo Kanu was brought on for defender Celestine Babayaro.
John Utaka almost equalised for Nigeria, with eight minutes to go, but his shot was too soft and easily cleared off the line. A minute later, Joseph Yobo crashed a shot against the post.
Kanu tried to chip Hedman in the last minute of normal time, but it wasn't to be and Nigeria became the second team to be eliminated from the 2002 World Cup -- after Saudi Arabia.
Final Score:Sweden 2 -- Nigeria 1
Player of the Match:Henrik Larsson -- His two goals gave Sweden three very important points in the Group of Death.
Yellow Cards:Johan Mjallby (31 mins)Niclas Alexandersson (70 mins)Taribo West (80 mins)
Sweden:1 Magnus Hedman; 15 Andreas Jakobsson, 16 Teddy Lucic, 2 Olof Mellberg, 4 Johan Mjallby; 7 Niclas Alexandersson, 6 Tobias Linderoth, 9 Fredrik Ljungberg, 8 Anders Svensson (17 Magnus Svensson -- 84 mins); 10 Marcus Allbäck (22 Andreas Andersson -- 64 mins), 11 Henrik Larsson.
Nigeria:1 Ike Shoronmu; 3 Celestine Babayaro (4 Nwankwo Kanu -- 66 mins), 15 Justice Christopher, 5 Isaac Okoronkwo, 14 Ifeanyi Udeze, 6 Taribo West, 2 Joseph Yobo; 10 Jay-Jay Okocha; 17 Julius Agahowa, 9 Bartholomew Ogbeche (7 Pius Ikedia -- 71 mins), 21 John Utaka.