Messi scores as Argentina pips Nigeria 2-1 to qualify for round of 16

Messi scores as Argentina pips Nigeria 2-1 to qualify for round of 16

FT: Argentina are through to the knockout stage. It finishes Nigeria 1-2 Argentina. The South Americans make it through to the knockout stage alongside Croatia.

90' Four minutes of added time to be played. Substitution: Kenneth Omeruo Out, Alex Iwobi in, Musa OUT, Simi Nwankwo IN. As it stands Argentina and Croatia are going through.

87' In the other game! Croatia have taken the lead again against Iceland through Perisic. They lead 2-1.

86' GOALLLL! Argentina scores late as Rojo finds the bottom corner from the box.

85' CHANCE! Etebo finds the side net from a beautiful freekick

84' Big chance for Nigeria! Igahlo is through on goal for Nigeria after a mix up in Argentina's defense but he can't find the back of the net as his shot is saved.

81' CHANCE! Meza finds Higuain in the box but he can't keep his shot down. What a chance!

80' Substitution for Argentina! Enzo OUT, Aguero IN.

78' In the other game, Iceland have equalized against Croatia and it is 1-1 now. Nigeria still go through with a draw in this game.

75' Penalty call for Nigeria as the ball hits the ball on Rojo's hand but the referee refuses to give a penalty despite checking on VAR.

72' Substitution for Argentina! Di Maria OUT, Meza IN.

71' CHANCE! Nice build up play from Nigeria as Mikel feeds Musa who sets up Ighalo. The tall striker lets the ball run for Ndidi whose fierce shot is just narrowly over the bar.

67' Nigeria sitting deep in their half and soaking all the pressure from Argentina. We are are approaching the last 20 minutes of this game.

65' Yellow card! Banega booked for a foul on Ndidi.

60' Nigeria 1-1 Argentina. Thirty minutes left to be played in this game.

58' Ahmed Musa with a dashing run in the box and he does well to beat his marker Mascherano but his cross is cleared. Nice play from the Nigerian.

54' In the other game, Croatia have taken the lead through Badelj. They lead 1-0 against Iceland and as it is stands Croatia and Nigeria will both qualify.

52' Penalty call for Argentina but the referee waves play on after Di Maria fell in the box from a Moses challenge. But there doesn't look to be contact and it is a good call from the referee.

51' Goalllll!!!!! Victor Moses slots home and Nigeria are right back at it. Argentina 1-1 Nigeria

49' Penalty to Nigeria! Mascherano is booked for bringing down Leon Balogun inside the box from a corner. Victor Moses to take this for Nigeria.

46' Substitution for Nigeria! Iheanacho OUT, Ighalo IN.

46' Argentina get the second half underway.

45+3' Half time: Nigeria 0-1 Argentina. As it stands Croatia and Argentina will go through because Iceland are being held by Croatia at the moment.

45+2' A scramble in the Argentina box sees the ball drop for Iheanacho who crosses back into the box but Leon Balogun header is easily claimed by Armani who is making his World Cup debut.

45+1' Freekick to Nigeria in a good position. What do they do with this?

44' Iheanacho is down in the Argentina box as Mercado high boot catches him on his face. But he looks good to continue. Two minutes of added time to be played.

41' A long throw from Musa drops kindly for Etebo but his shot is wayward and runs out for a throw in for Argentina.

38' CHANCE! Argentina with nice exchange of passes near Nigeria 18-yard box but Di Maria shot is blocked by Moses.

34' CROSS BAR! Messi hits the woodwork from the free-kick but Uzoho seemed to have had a finger tip to deny the Barcelona man a second goal.

32' Yellow card to Nigeria! Balogun goes into the referee's book for a tackle on Di Maria. Argentina have a chance to extend their lead in a very dangerous position. Messi standing over this one!

30' Nigeria 0-1 Argentina. Messi's goal still the difference.

29' He is okay to continue and the game goes on.

28' Nigeria's young goalkeeper Uzoho is down after a nasty clash with Higuain. But he seems to be okay to carry on.

25' Iheanacho is again bullied off the ball by Mascherano

20' Etebo is cautioned for a foul on Di Maria. The referee tells him to calm his nerves. It is still Nigeria 0-1 Argentina.

17' Messi's goal is the 100th goal at this year's World Cup in Russia.

15' Goallll! A long ball picks out Lionel Messi and he buries it with so much composure with his right foot. That's Lionel Messi's first goal at the World Cup. Assist Ever Banega.

13' BIG CHANCE! Mascherano gives away the box in Argentina's half which Iheanacho pounces on but the young attacker took so much time to take a shot giving the former Barcelona man time to block his shot.

9' CHANCE! Ahmed Musa with Nigeria's first attempt on goal but his shot is over the cross bar. Good attempt!

8' HALF CHANCE! Tagliafico slices his hot wide after much pressure from Leon Balogun. Nice defending from the tall centre back.

7' BLOCKED! Etebo breaks away in the middle of pack and unleashes a fierce shot but it is blocked.

5' OFFSIDE! Di Maria is flagged offside after a long ball picks him out.

4' Otamendi again tries to pick out Messi with a long pass but it is easily gathered by Uzoho in goal for Nigeria.

2' Otamendi with a wasteful ball to Tagliafico which runs out of play and Nigeria have the possession.

1' Nigeria get the game underway playing in their dark green jersey while Argentina are on their white and blue stripes jersey

Nigeria starting XI: Uzoho, Idowu, Ekong, Balogun, Omeruo, Ndidi, Etebo, Mikel, Musa, Moses, Iheanacho.

Argentina starting XI: Armani, Mercado, Tagliafico, Mascherano, Rojo, Otamendi, Banega, Di Maria, Perez, Higuian, Messi.

Read our match preview below

When the Super Eagles of Nigeria file out in the Krestovsky stadium, Saint Petersburg on Tuesday, June 26, they will be hoping to be fifth time lucky against a nation that has always tormented them at the World Cup, Argentina.

Both nations will be battling it out for a last-16 spot at the World Cup and a second place finish in Group D behind group winners Croatia.

Argentina have never previously gone through a first-round World Cup group stage without at least one victory before. Korea/Japan 2002 was the last time they crashed out of the group stages at the World Cup with their only victory in the tournament coming against Nigeria.

In 2014, both teams met at the World Cup as star man Lionel Messi scored twice in 3-2 win over Nigeria which secured a top spot finish for Argentina in group F as the Super Eagles qualified in second place.

That was Nigeria's fourth defeat against the South Americans having lost in 1994, 2002, and 2010. However, Nigeria's hope rest largely on one man who has always scored every time he is on same pitch with Lionel Messi, his name Ahmed Musa.

The 25-year-old has scored against Messi the two times he has faced the Barcelona star. He scored both goals in Nigeria's group stage 3-2 defeat to Argentina in Porto Alegre, Brazil, four years ago and another brace for Leicester City against Barcelona in a friendly game in August 2016.

His brace against Iceland makes him Nigeria's highest goal scorer at the World Cup with four goals.

But Argentina's coach, Jorge Sampaoli, who is facing the heat following his side's poor form at the mundial has vowed that fans will see the best of Argentina in this clash.

"We have to make our goal five games to reach the final. Tomorrow will be the first final," he said.

He added: "No matter who plays tomorrow will have the obligation to give until the last bead of sweat so that Argentina will go through.

"We don't have any alternative and I am sure this is how it will go. Tomorrow, I am sure that they will see the best version of Argentina at this World Cup."

On his part, Nigeria's coach Gernot Rohr is ready to end Lionel Messi international career with a defeat, amid reports that this might be the 31-year-old last World Cup.

"We love this great player, Messi, everybody loves him," he said.

He added: "The question is not if it is the last World Cup for him or not, the question is for us to be qualified.

"We are not here to watch him play. We are here to make a result, we are professionals. We are here to defend the colours of Nigeria and we know in football there is no mercy, no pity, everybody wants to win and we cannot make any gifts even if we like very much this player."

If Argentina beat Nigeria and Croatia beat Iceland, Argentina go through. They will also go through if they beat Nigeria convincingly and Iceland can only manage a slim victory against Croatia. While Nigeria will go through if they beat Argentina or get a draw with Iceland failing to beat Croatia.

Potential Argentina XI: Caballero; Salvio, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Mascherano, Perez; Di Maria, Messi, Dybala; Higuain.

Potential Nigeria XI: Uzoho; Omeruo, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Ebuehi; Mikel, Ndidi; Moses, Etebo, Musa; Iheanacho.

Venue: Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg

Time: 7pm (Nigerian time)

Head to Head: Big games between Argentina and Nigeria

June 25 1994: Nigeria 1 Argentina 2 – Boston, USA (FIFA World Cup)

Jan 10 1995: Argentina 0 Nigeria 0 – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (FIFA Confederations Cup)

Aug 3 1996: Nigeria 3 Argentina 2 – Georgia, USA (Olympics Final)

June 2 2002: Argentina 1 Nigeria 0 – Ibaraki, Japan (FIFA World Cup)

July 2 2005: Nigeria 1 Argentina 2 – Utrecht, Netherlands (FIFA U20 World Cup Final)

August 23 2008: Argentina 1 Nigeria 0 – Beijing, China (Olympics Final)

June 12 2010: Argentina 1 Nigeria 0 – Jo’burg, South Africa (FIFA World Cup)

June 1 2011: Nigeria 4 Argentina 1 – Abuja, Nigeria (Friendly)

September 6 2011: Argentina 3 Nigeria 1 – Dhaka, Bangladesh (Friendly)

June 25 2014: Nigeria 2 Argentina 3 – Porto Alegre, Brazil (FIFA World Cup)

November 14 2017: Argentina 2 Nigeria 4 – Krasnodar, Russia (Friendly)

Source: Briefly.co.za

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