By Chux Odoh
The Super Eagles of Nigeria play their last game of the group stage in Russia against arch-rivals Argentina in its most important world cup match yet. From their first meeting at the 1994 world cup, the Nigerian team have never won a match against the Argentine side in world cup match. Nigeria’s only win over the La Albiceleste.
Nigeria’s only win against the Argentina senior team was a 4-2 victory during an international friendly in November 2017 and the Super Eagles will be looking to replicate that same outcome as the file out against the 2-time world champions.
Nigeria goes into today’s game occupying the second position in Group D with 3 points behind already qualified group leaders Croatia, needing just a draw to qualify. Argentina on their own is in a tortuous position as last in the group, having just 1 point from their last two games to record their worst start to the world cup in over 60 years. They must win against Nigeria or crash out of the tournament.
In today’s game, Nigerians are counting on the trio Ahmed Musa, Chelsea’s Victor Moses and Oghenekaro Etebo, the former Warri Wolves player who recently signed for Stoke City.
Musa who plays for Leicester City was the man of the match during the team’s last game against Iceland as his two spectacular goals ensured Nigeria got all maximum 3 points in the game. Scoring against the Argentina side is something the Leicester City forward is used to as he did during the 2014 world cup in Brazil. Nigerians will be looking to him to continue his impressive goal scoring record against the Argentines.
Moses was heavily criticised for his performance against Croatia but the Chelsea player seemed to redeem himself in the game against Iceland. His cross from the right after a quick counter-attack provided the needed assist for Ahmed Musa to score Nigeria’s first goal in the game.
Etebo is one of the many world cup debutants in the Nigerian squad. Although he was unfortunate to get an own goal in the game against Croatia, Etebo has been rock solid in the middle of the pack for the Super Eagles and is easily one of the players of the tournament. Nigerian’s will be expecting that same energy from the midfielder today to be to control proceedings in the middle.
If Nigeria wins today’s game, the team will be getting to the second round of the tournament for the third time in its history after doing so as debutants in 1994 and the 1998 tournament in France. Nigerians, however, are hopeful that this present crop of players will break the jinx and take the team to at least the quarterfinals of the world cup.
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