NIGERIA 1- 2 ARGENTINA: Four major talking points as Argentina left it late against Nigeria Featured
27 Jun

NIGERIA 1- 2 ARGENTINA: Four major talking points as Argentina left it late against Nigeria

Marcos Rojo’s sensational volley off a Gabriel Mercado cross in the 86th minute secured a 2-1 victory for Argentina over Nigeria.
 
That win, coupled with Croatia’s 2-1 win over Iceland, secured second place in the group for Argentina and a last 16 date against France. 
 
Lionel Messi answered his critics with a 14th minute goal that appeared to do the trick for Argentina, but a Javier Mascherano-conceded penalty  allowed Nigeria to provisionally seize the knockout spot through Victor Moses’ spot kick.
 
Here are four talking points from Nigeria’s heartbreaking defeat to Argentina
 
Argentina’s experience trumped Nigeria’s lack of belief
 
As good as Nigeria were at times during the game, they didn’t go for the jugular at any point.
 
It was easy to see Rohr’s plan, stay in the game and pounce at the right moment just as they did in their game against Iceland.
 
They had chances of their own to have won the day but unfortunately spurned them. They weren’t bad on the night but were too inexperienced to believe they were capable to go past Argentina and it showed in the dying embers of the game which led to their defeat.
 
Messi gets first goal
 
With an early exit staring Argentina, all eyes were on Lionel Messi. How was he going to turn things around and send Argentina into the Last 16?
 
The Barcelona superstar has been on the receiving end due to the absence of goals. Fortunately for La Pulga, he got his first goal of the competition against Nigeria after latching onto an Ever Banega pass to put his country ahead.
 
He was very alive in the first half with his remarkable dribbling and terrific passing. Thought he went to sleep after the interval, he’ll surely be buoyed by his maiden goal of the competition.
 
Wasteful Ighalo disappoints
 
Odion Ighalo’s talent has never been in doubt. His ability is there for all to see.
 
The Nigerian forward continues to frustrate though with brilliant displays mixed in with worrying performances. This game was the latter as the former Watford man failed to take the chances afforded him.
 
Ighalo who replaced Iheanacho after the interval woes in the competition continued with two point blank chances inside the box going begging when it seemed easier to score.
 
This game will forever be a game Ighalo would love to forget because he could have gotten Nigeria a famous victory but for his profligacy.
 
History repeats itself
 
In the build-up to yesterday’s game, Nigeria’s last five final group matches in the World Cup, the Super Eagles have lost two, drawn two with one win.
 
Interestingly, their two losses were against South American opposition; Paraguay in 1998 and Argentina in 2014. The event that unfolded at Saint Petersburg was just a repeat of history.
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