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Sunday, June 14, 1998 Published at 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK


World: Africa

Nigerians take to the streets - to celebrate

Soccer fans spill onto the streets after the match

Hilary Andersson reports from Lagos, where crowds took to the streets following Nigeria's victory over Spain in the first round of the World Cup football finals in Paris:


[ image: Hilary Andersson]
Hilary Andersson
The crowds were in uproar as Nigeria scored its third goal. People flooded onto the streets dancing, singing and waving Nigerians flags.

Cars trying to pass through the crowded streets were mobbed and the sounds of honking horns and cheers echoed throughout.

Spain scored first early on in the match and Nigeria soon equalised. Spain scored a second goal and Nigeria equalised for the second time. Then, just as the crowds were losing hope the Eagles pulled back from the brink and in the last fifteen minutes scored a third goal to rapturous applause.


Nigerians celebrate on the streets of Lagos
The Nigerian team won the olympic football tournament last year but in recent months the Eagles performance has been lacklustre so not everyone here expected them to win against the formidable Spanish team.

The victory comes at the end of a dramatic week in Nigeria - a week in which General Sani Abacha, the military leader, died unexpectedly, leading to the instalment of a new military leader.


[ image: Watching a World Cup match at a converted outdoor market in Lagos]
Watching a World Cup match at a converted outdoor market in Lagos
On Friday, anti-government demonstrators took to the streets of Lagos. Politically it's a time of uncertainty and confusion.

All that for now though has been forgotten as people revel in national pride and celebrate.

Nigeria has been ostracised by the world for several years for its political problems and many ordinary people are already hoping that the football victory will help Nigeria earn the respect which it craves.



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