By Prince Etim
In all Nigeria’s five meetings with Argentina at the World Cup, this perhaps was the biggest chance to right all the wrongs of the past twenty-four years. Morale was high among Super Eagles, something that couldn’t be said about their opponents: the Argentine team was in chaos, the supposed greatest footballer of all time Lionel Messi had yet to score a goal and Nigeria was roaring to go.
A draw would have been enough to proceed to the next round. At the end of the night, it was the 31-year-old Barcelona forward that had the last laugh. He wiggled his way across Kenneth Omeruo and bent a shot that beat Francis Uzoho. Shortly after the second half started, Argentina gave away a penalty that Victor Moses dispatched easily and set Nigeria on course for a place in the round of 16.
Yet, it was the Video Assistant Referee FIFA introduced at this world cup that would break Nigeria’s heart the most. There was a clear case of ball handling by Marcos Rojo. The Turkish referee consulted the VAR and decided that Nigeria didn’t get a second penalty. Tough luck.
The same player would go on to score a winner in the 87th minute, dumping Nigeria out, fine jerseys and all.
The general consensus among fans is that ‘the players tried’. But that didn’t stop the memes from rolling in.
❤️🙏🏻 great World Cup Super Eagles. Can’t wait for 2022.
— pw (@petewentz) June 26, 2018
— CAF (@CAF_Online) June 26, 2018
Nigeria we can do better 🇳🇬 I believe.
— Olamide Adedeji (@olamide_YBNL) June 26, 2018
You win some, you lose some. Excellent effort from the Super Eagles.
— Rauf Aregbesola (@raufaregbesola) June 26, 2018
Sadly, it’s all over for the #SuperEagles & their crazy, passionate fans. You had more than just a cool kit. You had spirit & pride. We made a lot of new friends; some will stay, some will go but one day we hope to see you in Rome or visit you in Lagos!
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) June 26, 2018
This was one painful loss!
The stages of being Diego Maradona
The Argentina legend is no stranger to theatrics; the man for whom the phrase ‘hand of God’ was coined and who cries openly at wins and losses was a sight to behold as his country faced Nigeria.
First he was thrilled when Messi put Argentina ahead
Then he nearly had a heart attack when Moses equalized
And he couldn’t help but insult Nigerian supporters when his country won
Eventually, he was too weak to walk by himself. What a man!
A post shared by Nigerian Entertainment Today (@thenetng) on Jun 26, 2018 at 3:43pm PDT
What’s next for the Super Eagles?
For a number of the players, this could be their last World Cup appearance for Nigeria- Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo and Kelechi Iheanacho possibly. However, the core of the team may live to fight another year. Ahmed Musa is 25, Alex Iwobi 22, Karo Etebo 22 and many more like that. If that team remains together for another four years – with the coach given the opportunity to regroup and stay till then, Qatar 2022 might be a better outing. But like they say: this is Nigeria, anything can happen- Gernot Rohr may be out of a job before the boys return.
In other games, Croatia and Peru beat Iceland and Peru 2-1 and 2-0 respectively. Now the knockout stage is shaping up nicely. Portugal take on Uruguay, Spain play Russia, Croatia- Denmark, Argentina- France. The remaining eight teams would be determined as the group stage matches wind up today and tomorrow.
The post If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late: Super Eagles Are Out Of Russia 2018 🙏 appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today.