- Argentina will head into their last Group D match against Nigeria with the mindset of beating the three-time African champions
- The Albiceleste and the Super Eagles’ will be gunning for an outright win during the all-important fixture
- But the Jorge Sampaoli side must do all in their arsenal to ensure Nigeria doesn’t play the way they performed in the second stanza against Iceland
South American giants Argentina will head into their last Group D match against Nigeria at the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia with the mindset of beating the three-time African champions for a chance to progress to the round of 16.
During the Albiceleste, opening match of the global football fiesta, Barcelona’s superstar Lionel Messi failed to come to the party as Argentina played out a 1-1 draw with debutants, Iceland.
To make matters worse, the five-time ballon d'or winner also missed from the spot to further compound Argentina woes as hostilities commenced in the global football fiesta.
Going into their second Group D fixture against Croatia, the South Americans were hopeful that Messi and co will turn the negative tide around.
Sadly, after 90 minutes of football, the Croats further compounded the Argentina woes following a 3-0 pumping, even before former World Cup winner and Albiceleste legend, Diego Maradona, could not stop the European side from handing Argentina their biggest defeat in the history of the tournament.
A shoddy performance that forced the 57-year-old Maradona to shed tears after the blast of the referee’s final whistles.
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At the last count, the South American side could only boost of a solitary point after two matches from a total of six.
Thus, going into their Group D last fixture on Tuesday, June 26, the two-time World Cup winners must as a matter of urgency, up their game if they nurse any ambition to overcome Nigeria’s Super Eagles during the encounter.
The Argentines’ must be aware that Nigeria’s Super Eagles are in positive groove after turning round their previous 2-0 defeat by Croatia in their opening game, with Friday’s 2-0 win over Iceland at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod.
The scenario now is that both the Albiceleste and the Super Eagles’ will be gunning for an outright win during the all-important fixture, slated for Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg if they nurse any serious ambition of reaching the knock-rounds.
Although, Argentina’s playmaker, Lionel Messi is being touted to be playing his last World Cup, they must also find a way to work on their an uncoordinated defence line, an unsure shot-stopper, as well as a poor tactical input from the bench that seems loss with their performances so far.
In addition, they must do all in their arsenal to ensure the Gernot Rohr-tutored side doesn’t play the way they performed against Iceland, especially in the second stanza as it will not guarantee them an outright win.
However, if the Albiceleste manage to beat the Super Eagles, below is what the group would likely look after the end of hostilities:
Iceland’s Strákarnir okkar (Our Boys) fall to Croatia’s Blazers
The above will be a good result for the South Americans as one point will see them progress to the knock-out round
This is what Group D log would look: Croatia (9 points), Argentina (4 points), Nigeria (3 points) and Iceland (1 point).
Iceland and Croatia cancel out one another
The above result would be best for the Albestie provided they claim a win of any colour over the rampaging Super Eagles on match day
This is what Group D log would look: Croatia (7 points), Argentina (4 points), Nigeria (3 points) and Iceland (2 points).
Iceland overcome Croatia
If the above result sees the blight of the day, it will definitely compound issues for the South Americans. A victory in the last group matches for both Iceland’s and Argentina’s Albiceleste would see the two get a total haul of 4 points (Croatia’s Blazers, on the other hand, would emerge tops in Group D with 6 points but Nigeria’s Super Eagles will end their campaign on the last spot with 3 points).
Then FIFA will employ the use of tie breaker rules to decide the side that will progress to the knock-out rounds. On fact remains that the goals scored on the night will no doubt help the teams that will qualify for next stage of the tournament.
Ahead of the last fixtures, Iceland has a goal difference of -2 while Argentina has -3, therefore, the South Americans must overcome Nigeria by more goals than Iceland are likely to put past Croatia.
Interestingly, reports suggest that Croatia’s Blazers’ might opt not to play some of their big players in the last group fixture having sealed a spot in the last 16 round.
However, a surprise defeat from Iceland might see them losing out their first position on the log to Nigeria’s Super Eagles.
Therefore, a victory for Nigeria with enough goals against Argentina will see the Super Eagles, move to the top of Group D log with six points after three games.
In conclusion, Argentina must thus ensure they stop Nigeria by going the extra mile to check the fighting hard Super Eagles on match day.
No doubt, Group D last fixtures will be explosive and interesting to follow in all ramifications.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously had reported that Argentina’s manager, Jorge Sampaoli has faulted Lionel Messi’s teammates for not doing enough to assist the playmaker in their 0-3 loss to Croatia’s Blazers’.
Strikes from Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, as well as Ivan Rakitic ensured that the two-time World Cup winners and three-time finalists, are on the verge of an early return to Buenos Aires, despite been tipped by bookmakers, to go all the way in Russia.
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