Sep. 11, 2018
Nigeria vs Argentina: Can the Super Eagles fly out of Group D?
With Croatia already winners of Group D, preferably a win for Nigeria would solidify a second place finish but a draw would also do the job for them. The Argentinian side were in dire need of a win to finish with 4 points, leapfrogging the Super Eagles who would then finish with 3 points if they had lost.
It's hard to believe that the numerous stars in the Argentinian squad haven't been able to deliver the performances that most spectators were hoping for. But above all, Argentina's former number 10 Diego Maradona has possibly had the highest amount of disbelief whilst following Argentina's group stage performances.
The weight of His country were firmly placed on His shoulders. The stage has been set for Him to carry His side out of their final group match.
No that isn't another line epitomising Cristiano Ronaldo's pressure to take Portugal to another major cup final..
But, could Lionel Messi (31) produce some magic to see them through to the knockout stages?
After a display of their usual African strength, pace & diligence, this Nigerian side couldn't contain the craftiness of Lionel Messi. A pinpoint over the top pass from Banega along with two sublime touches and a brilliant right footed finish from Messi to put the Argentina one goal in front in the fourteenth minute.
Possibly the biggest second half for both sides so far begans with a controversial penalty given to Nigeria just 3 minutes into the second half.
Regardless of a 2 minute wait by Victor Moses due to the Argentinian players doing their upmost best by causing a ruckus outside the box to unsettle the nerves of Chelsea's right wing back. However, Moses celebrates with his trademark backflip somersault after a calm & collected penalty finish.
As it stood after 51 minutes played, the Super Eagles were placed back in second place with 4 points leaving Argentina with 2 points in 3rd place.
With Argentina largely dominating the second half with 68% possession and the Nigerians defending with great zeal, it was only a matter of time until Jorge Sampaoli was free to run vehemently on the touchline as he celebrated with the other Argentinian players.
A goal from an unlikely Marcos Rojo in the 86th minute placed Argentina back in second place with 4 points & Nigeria in third place with 3 points.
A gutsy, edgy & nail-biting performance from both sides to say the least.
Another thrilling game of football in their final group stage match for both teams.
Nevertheless, Argentina prevailed to beat Nigeria 2-1 after holding off waves of counterattacks from a strong & passionate Nigerian side. This is Argentina's fifth consecutive win over the Super Eagles by just one goal.
This young Nigerian side can hold their heads high after an athletic & confident performance from the very first minute until the end. Of course its a shame to see another African side drop out of the tournament, but the dedication & fighting spirit of Argentina was enough to see them through.
Next step for Argentina is France...
Could this be a late beginning of their second run to another World Cup Final?