In November, Nigeria came from two goals down to beat Argentina 4-2 in unforgiving fashion.
Played on Russian soil, the competitive friendly was a dress rehearsal of what could turn out to be a deciding fixture in the 'group of death' at this summer's World Cup.
Granted, Argentina were missing star man Lionel Messi, but Nigeria were also without a key player of their own, Chelsea wide man Victor Moses.
The result, coupled with the Super Eagles' impressive qualifying campaign, has fuelled a growing belief in Nigeria that the team could achieve something special in Russia.Read More
- World Cup 2018 group guide: Fixtures, schedule, kick-off times, key clashes and players to watch in Russia
Credit must go to German manager Gernot Rohr, who has built a balanced side, with a solid back line and the calming influence of John Obi Mikel allowing young attackers including Leicester's Kelechi Iheanacho and Arsenal's Alex Iwobi the freedom to stretch opposition teams.
Whisper it quietly, but Nigeria could be a force to be reckoned with...
Nigeria were unbeaten in qualifying as they booked their place at the World Cup with ease.
The Super Eagles registered victories over Zambia (1-2 and 1-0), Algeria (3-1) and Cameroon (4-0) . There were also draws against Cameroon (1-1) and Algeria (1-1).
In November, a 4-2 friendly win over Argentina in Russia only fuelled the growing belief back home that the national team could do something special this summer.
While more experienced players such as Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel will be hugely important for Nigeria, Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho has the tools to make the difference.
Still only 21, the tall, quick frontman has scored eight goals in 13 appearances for the Super Eagles, including the one that sparked the comeback against Argentina last year.
He hasn't had the best debut season for the Foxes since completing his £25million move in summer, so he'll have a point to prove in Russia.
Alex Iwobi is still finding his feet in Arsene Wenger's ailing Arsenal team, producing a handful of eye-catching performances - but for his national side, he's very much a key figure.
The nephew of Super Eagles legend Jay-Jay Okocha, he appears to have inherited some, if not all, of his uncle's tricks, and he'll be keen to show them off in Russia.
Away from the tension-filled cauldron that is Arsenal right now, Iwobi, 21, may find it easier to shine.
Saturday June 16 - Croatia vs Nigeria, 8pm, Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
Friday June 22 - Nigeria vs Iceland, 4pm, Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
Tuesday June 26 - Nigeria vs Argentina, 7pm, Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg
William Hill have Nigeria at 200/1 to win the tournament outright.
*odds correct at the time of publishing