Nigeria vs Argentina - Preview - World Cup 2018

Nigeria vs Argentina - Preview - World Cup 2018

The unofficial ‘group of death’ has certainly lived up to its expectations. Only Croatia has guaranteed qualification to the round of 16 with Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland engaged in a three-way tussle. Let’s find out what is to become of Nigeria’s clash with a struggling Argentina side.

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FIFA World Cup
Nigeria vs Argentina   
Group D
Tuesday 26 June  
Saint Petersburg Stadium    
20:00

To Win
Nigeria 9/2 
Draw 33/10  
Argentina 5/10

Nigeria

Nigeria were in desperate need of maximum points against Iceland following their embarrassing performance in their opening game against Croatia where they suffered a dour 2-0 defeat.

The Super Eagles certainly raised their game against the Icelanders with Ahmed Musa smashing a second half brace to give Nigeria a well-deserved 2-0 victory in Volograd. On his return to the starting line-up, the skilful forward repaid manager Gernot Rohr's faith with energy and pace, keeping Iceland’s back-line on their toes for 90 minutes.

Nigeria’s coach made three changes to his team for last Friday's Group D World Cup matchup against Iceland, bringing in Kelechi Iheanacho and Musa up front for a much more aggressive approach and Kenneth Omeruo for extra cover in defence.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alex Iwobi back in the starting lineup for this one. The Arsenal footballer is hardworking and offers creativity going forward – something the Super Eagles will need against Argentina who will see most of the ball. On the other hand, La Celeste are wounded and should Nigeria attack the game from the get-go, they might just expose Argentina once again.

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Argentina

Lionel Messi and co. currently find themselves in a mess after being hammered 3-0 by Croatia last time out – Argnentina's heaviest defeat in the first-round group stage of a World Cup since losing 6-1 to Czechoslovakia in 1958. Argentina are bottom of Group D but should they win and Iceland get anything less than maximum points, La Celeste will progress to the Last 16.

Argentina are no longer in control of their own destiny and as for Messi, a prolific performer at club level with Barcelona, this could be another harrowing chapter in his recent history of pain and disappointment in the international game.

Messi has had more shots than any other player at this World Cup (12) but has failed to score with any of them. With that being said, there is plenty of quality amongst this bunch of Argentinean players but too many of them look fine with leaving the burden of success up to Messi.

Manager, Jorge Sampaoli, desperately needs to get his team to gel, buzz and play the beautiful game as a unit. On top of that, he needs to start Paulo Dybala instead of these young domestic players from Argentina – a lack of experience is killing them. The Juventus forward might be young but his talent is endless.

Probable line-ups:
Nigeria: 3-5-2
Uzoho; Omeruo, Troost-Ekong, Balogun; Iwobi, Etebo, Ndidi, Moses, Mikel; Musa, Iheanacho  

Argentina: 4-2-3-1
Caballero; Tagliafico, Otamendi, Rojo, Salvio; Mascherano, Biglia, Dybala, Messi, Meza; Aguero

Prediction: Argentina + Lionel Messi Anytime Scorer (22/10)
Nigeria are on a high and Argentina are finding it difficult to get out of first gear. However, you can expect La Celeste to turn up the heat and earn a narrow victory in what’s likely to be a nail-biting affair. Get on the Hollywoodbets Same Match Betbuilder with an Argentina win, plus Messi to score anytime at 22/10.

Written by Aaron Crowie

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