Nigeria weren’t given much of a chance of qualification from this tough World Cup group, and after a dismal showing against Croatia in their opener, their chances looked almost non existent. That all changed after their second game though.
The Africans looked on the back foot for most of the first half against Iceland, but as the World Cup debutants wilted Nigeria came out fighting in the second half. They were far the better side, and Ahmed Musa’s pace terrorised the Icelandic defence. This eventually resulted in a 2-0 win for Nigeria, and it puts them in a fantastic position to qualify from this World Cup group.
It’s by no means settled though. Nigeria come into the final game 2nd in the group, three points ahead of both Iceland and Argentina below them. Croatia’s goal difference means that they are all but guaranteed the top spot, but second place is well up for grabs. Nigeria need to avoid defeat to give themselves a chance, although even that doesn’t guarantee progression should Iceland beat Croatia.
For Argentina it’s been a catastrophe of a World Cup so far. They opened with a poor showing against Iceland as they played out a 1-1 draw, but things got even worse on Thursday. They were dismantled in the second half by Croatia, losing 3-0 in the end to put them on the verge of a shock World Cup exit. Rumours that the players had asked for Jorge Sampaoli to be sacked mid-tournament only serve to weaken the Argentina camp more as well.
Defensively the South American giants have looked very poor, and Nigeria will fancy their chances of finding the net after Musa’s masterclass on Friday. Their confidence will be further boosted by the 4-2 victory they claimed over Argentina in a friendly last November.
However, that match does illustrate Nigeria’s main weakness; their defence. They could have shipped a couple in the first half against Iceland and they have kept just one clean sheet in their last six matches. Argentina will be going all out for the win too, so Nigeria keeping a clean sheet doesn’t look promising either. We’re backing Both Teams to Score here.
We do fancy Nigeria to get something from the game though. They were much improved against Iceland and Argentina look even more fragmented, so we’re also going for a Nigeria Win or Draw Double Chance along with a 2-2 correct score predictions.
Musa was left out of the starting lineup for Nigeria’s opener against Croatia, but a promising performance from the bench saw him push his way into the starting lineup against Iceland. This proved a great call as he netted two top quality goals, taking his tally to 15 for Nigeria and four in the World Cup. We’re backing him to make it five here for our correct score predictions.
Nigeria Predicted Lineup: Uzoho, Balogun, Troost-Ekong, Omeruo, Moses, Idowu, Elebo, Obi, Ndidi, Iheanacho, Musa
Argentina Predicted Lineup: Caballero, Salvio, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico, Mascherano, Banega, Messi, Dybala, Aguero
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HEAD TO HEAD
Argentina have won four, drawn one, and lost two of their last six meetings with Argentina, with the last encounter coming under a year ago. Nigeria won that friendly 4-2. (Source)
|Zeusbet JUN 26, 2018||1X2||DC||O/U 2.5||GG/NG||DNB|
|3569||19:00||Nigeria – Argentina|
NIGERIA VS ARGENTINA STATS
Nigeria have faced Argentina in the group stages in each of their last three World Cups (2002, 2010, 2014).
Argentina are currently enduring their longest winless run in World Cup finals history, (W0 D2 L2).
Argentina have never previously gone through a first round World Cup group stage without at least one victory before.
The last time Argentina failed to progress past the group stages of the World Cup was in 2002 (W1 D1 L1), with their sole victory that year coming against Nigeria.
Nigeria are looking to win successive World Cup games for the first time since 1998 – three points will also guarantee a place in the knockout stages for the fourth time.
Nigerian attacker Ahmed Musa is now his country’s all-time top scorer in World Cup games with four goals after scoring a brace against Iceland.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi has had 12 shots in this World Cup so far but has yet to score – that’s eight more attempts than any other Argentina player.