Nigeria eliminated Bosnia and Herzegovina from the World Cup with a 1-0 win in Cuiabá on Saturday. A first-half goal from Peter Odemwingie was enough for the Super Eagles to take victory and end the Dragons' hopes of making the knockout stage. It was a tight game throughout, and only Bosnia's leaky defence proved to be the difference between the sides.
The victorious Super Eagles shaded the opening exchanges of the match, with Odemwingie curling a free-kick narrowly wide of Asmir Begović's post, before Ahmed Musa miscontrolled in the penalty area and the Bosnian keeper was called into action on a long-range drive by Ogenyi Onazi.
However, though Bosnia looked quiet early on, they should have had the lead in the 21st minute when Edin Džeko slotted a Miralem Pjanić shot beyond Vincent Enyeama, only to see the offside flag wrongly raised. The momentum of the game seemed to be gradually shifting in Bosnia's favour, with Haris Medunjanin sending Džeko through on goal again within minutes, only for Enyeama to palm the striker's shot away.
But Nigeria still stayed dangerous on the counter-attack, and they took full advantage by opening the scoring just short of the half-hour. Emmanuel Emenike out-muscled Bosnia defender Emir Spahić down the right, before drilling the ball across the box for Peter Odemwingie to stroke beyond Begović. They managed to hold the lead into halftime, with Džeko squandering a couple of half-chances before the break.
With Bosnia showing little improvement in the first 10 minutes of the second half, coach Safet Sušić opted to throw on Vedad Ibišević alongside Džeko up top, as the Dragons began to try and desperately chase an equalising goal. That, however, inevitably left them weaker in midfield, and Nigeria almost capitalised through Emenike just past the hour; Begović got down to save his effort at the near post. Instead of looking more threatening going forward, Bosnia seemed to have lost their grip on the proceedings.
Their best chances came from crosses into the box, with substitute Ibišević flashing a header wide and Džeko nodding right at Nigeria keeper Enyeama in stoppage time. Another great chance fell to Džeko in the final minute, though his effort on the turn somehow clipped the post.
The Super Eagles barely survived the Dragons' late rally to move ever closer to the knockout stage. Bosnia, meanwhile, will progress no further than the group stage in their first World Cup.
Nigeria: Enyeama; Oshaniwa, Yobo, Omeruo, Ambrose; Onazi, Mikel; Musa (Ameobi 65'), Babatunde (Uzoenyi 75'), Odemwingie; Emenike.
Goals: Odemwingie (29').
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Begović; Lulić (Salihović 58'), Šunjić, Spahić, Mujdža; Bešić, Medunjanin (Sušić 64'); Misimović, Pjanić, Hajrović (Ibišević 57'); Džeko.