The Super Eagles of Nigeria will take on familiar foes Argentina in their final D fixture at the on-going FIFA World Cup.
Nigeria weren’t given much of a chance of qualification from this tough World Cup group, and after a dismal showing against Croatia in their opener, their chances looked almost nonexistent. That all changed after their second game though.
The Africans looked on the back foot for most of the first half against Iceland, but as the World Cup debutants wilted Nigeria came out fighting in the second half. They were far the better side, and Ahmed Musa’s pace terrorized the Icelandic defense. This eventually resulted in a 2-0 win for Nigeria, and it puts them in a fantastic position to qualify from this World Cup group.
Nigeria go into the game 2nd in the group, two points ahead of both Iceland and Argentina below them. Croatia’s goal difference means that they are all but guaranteed the top spot, but second place is well up for grabs.
Nigeria need to avoid defeat to give themselves a chance, although even that doesn’t guarantee progression should Iceland beat Croatia.
A win against Argentina, who have looked shambolic in their first two games despite boasting some of the biggest names in the game, would guarantee a place in the second round.
A draw may also be enough even if Iceland beat already-qualified Croatia, depending on goal difference.
For Argentina it’s been a catastrophe of a World Cup so far. They opened with a poor showing against Iceland as they played out a 1-1 draw, but things got even worse on Thursday.
They were dismantled in the second half by Croatia, losing 3-0 in the end to put them on the verge of a shock World Cup exit. Rumors that the players had asked for Jorge Sampaoli to be sacked mid-tournament only serve to weaken the Argentina camp more as well.
Defensively the South American giants have looked very poor, and Nigeria will fancy their chances of finding the net after Musa’s masterclass last Friday. Their confidence will be further boosted by the 4-2 victory they claimed over Argentina in a friendly last November.
Nigeria’s Potential Starting X1: Uzoho, Balogun, Troost-Ekong, Omeruo, Moses, Idowu, Etebo, Obi, Ndidi, Iheanacho, Musa
Argentina potential starting XI: Caballero, Salvio, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico, Mascherano, Banega, Messi, Dybala, Aguero
Fact: Four of the eight games between Nigeria and Argentina have come at World Cup finals – Argentina winning all four contests
Head to Head clash:
- Nigeria won 2
- Argentina won 5
- Drawn Games 1
• Gernot Rohr (Nigeria)
• Jorge Sampaoli (Argentina)
Date, Time and Venue of the match:
- June 26, 2018
- 7:00pm (Nigerian time)
- Krestovskey stadium, Russia.