Match Preview:Nigeria vs Argentina


Argentina head into Tuesday's Group D

encounter with Nigeria knowing that only

victory will do as they look to progress

through to the last 16 of the World Cup .

Nigeria are aware that a draw in St

Petersburg will eliminate the 2014 runners-

up, but a share of the spoils could let in

Iceland, who need to beat already-qualified

Croatia.

Nigeria

Few people could argue that Nigeria looked

poor in their opening-game defeat to Croatia

and that impression would have continued by

half time of the African nation's match with

Iceland after failing to record a shot despite

67% of possession.

However, the mood changed after the break.

Nigeria came out looking like a different side,

showing an increasing threat on the counter-

attack and Ahmed Musa who has flopped at

Leicester City since 2016 - looking a man

reborn. 

The 25-year-old has no future at the King

Power Stadium, but that matters little right

now with Musa acting as the spearhead of the

Super Eagles' challenge in Russia, and on

current form, they will feel that they can

record a second win over Argentina in little

over half a year.

Friday's triumph over Iceland also ended a

five-match winless streak - games which only

saw Nigeria net twice - and there are signs

that the shackles have been lifted and the

confidence is there to inflict more misery on

Argentina.

On the negative side, however, Nigeria

continue to start slowly and although they

avoided conceding against Iceland, it marked

the fourth successive fixture where they

have failed to make any impact before the

break.

That cannot happen against Argentina. Lionel

Messi and co are hurting after the

embarrassment of their previous defeat, and

it is up to Nigeria to press from the opening

whistle in order to leave their more

illustrious opponents with no time to regain

their confidence.

Nigeria have lost all four of their World Cup 

matches with Argentina but they have shown

in the past that they are not overawed by

going toe to toe with their star-studded

squad, and if Nigeria reproduce their second-

half showing against Iceland, it could prove to

be the difference between qualification and

elimination.