Nigeria 2 Argentina 3: Three talking points
Nigeria 2 Argentina 3: Three talking points as Lionel Messi inspires his side to their third straight win in Brazil
What can be said about arguably the world’s greatest ever player that hasn’t already been mentioned? He continued where he left off in the two previous group games and was an inspirational presence in the blue and white stripes. He was head and shoulders above the rest, netting twice and will be in the running for player of the tournament along with Neymar and James Rodriguez. The Barcelona star could yet solidify his legacy by adding a World Cup winner’s medal to his already endless list of honours.
Game full of gusto as the last 16 beckons for both sides
Argentina needed only a draw to top Group F, while their opponents Nigeria also needed the same result to guarantee a place in the last 16 – but there was no signs of either side simply playing out a dull draw. Within the first 10 minutes there was a goal for both teams – just 90 seconds separated both strikes. The first half ended with a sublime Messi free-kick and Nigeria’s Musa immediately levelled things up once more after the break. Rojo put Argentina back in front three minutes after Musa had levelled for a second time after latching onto a Garay header from a corner. Despite going down 3-2 to the South Americans, the Super Eagles advance by virtue of Bosnia’s win over Iran in the other Group F contest. Nigeria will play France in the last 16, while Argentina will take on either Ecuador or Switzerland for a place in the quarter-finals.
Argentina contenders for World Cup crown?
With Messi at his most majestic, Argentina are more-than-capable of reaching the business end of the tournament, where they could beat anyone on there day. If Messi is taken out of the equation for a moment, Angel Di Maria poses a serious threat going forward and will ask questions of any defence at this tournament. Defensively, the likes of Mascherano and Gago bolster the Argentine back-line, however, as Nigeria showed, Garay and Fernandez have a tendency to switch off and if got at early, can be carved open. With nine points from their three World Cup group games, Argentina still have gears to go to if required. They’ll be there or thereabouts come the end of the tournament.