It is here once again, as The Super Eagles of Nigeria ?? look to retire arguably football’s best player, Lionel Messi from International football at the expense of his national side Argentina ??, in what many have tagged “all or nothing” for both sides.
This will be their 5th meeting in the biggest stage of football and both sides have no plans of doing either side, any favours.
The La Albiceleste of Argentina ?? have a perfect record against The Super Eagles of Nigeria ??, with 4 wins out of 4. All wins with a goal margin since their first encounter, almost exactly 24 years ago on the 25th of June 1994 in USA.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) June 26, 2018
However, the their last encounter on the 25th of June 2014, ended with Ahmed Musa and Lionel Messi scoring braces for their sides and Manchester United centreback Marcos Rojo, scoring the match winning goal.
If the display by the sides in the last encounter of the tournament is anything to like what we are primed for tonight, then surely it will be a blockbuster of a game.
Their encounter, which was an International friendly, ended 4-2 in favor of The Super Eagles of Nigeria ??, who came from 2 goals down to win on the day.
However, that was just a friendly which even lacked the presence of Lionel Messi and substitutions were allowed beyond just 3.
Then again, games between these two sides can never really termed a friendly as they always seek to dominate the other over the course of the game.
So much so that players have had their say about the fixture, long before the commencement of the mundial. Of all the comments, one with venom actually stands out from the others.
I’m torn… Nigeria vs Argentina..
1 part of me wants 1 of the best players ever (#Messi) to produce some magic for us to be entertained but the other part of me wants my Nigerian friends to go on and produce a magical team display
I’m torn!!!! #SoarSuperEagles #ARG pic.twitter.com/Om1S5lln3H
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) June 26, 2018
The author of the comment needs not much introduction as he as plied his trade across Europe’s most exciting teams and leagues.
He is no other but CentreBack Javier Mascherano who has gone as far as analyzing the Super Eagles mentality. Here is what he had to say;
Chelsea Legend and former Ivory coast ?? striker Didier Drogba has voiced his opinion as regards the approach of Super Eagles of Nigeria to the game against Argentina. Here is what he had to say;
“Nigeria are quite well known to us, we’ve always met in the last World Cups. They’re tough, not just because of their physical power, but because their disorganisation has the effect of disorganising you as a rival. And that’s when teams like ours suffer the most – (in disorder).”
“They were spontaneous and exciting, which is the way I expected them to play at this World Cup – and that is why they won the game.
The point I am making is that they need to keep their identity as a team. It is important they keep doing that if they are going to reach the last 16. If they decide to stay defensive and start fearing conceding goals, they will be going home”.
The key men for tonight’s clash include;
Lionel Messi: On his day, he is a terror to play against. The Albiceleste will be hoping he is tuned in and locked on today.
Gonzalo Higuain: Deadly finisher and will be effective against the Nigerian backline serially.
Ever Banega: Considering this Albiceleste side have shipped in the most goals in the group, the Combative Midfielder will be required to quell the threat Etebo poses from the middle of the park.
Ahmed Musa: currently basking in the euphoria of his brace in the last game and also responsible for the brace against the Albiceleste in the last tournament, he will certainly look to wreak further havoc on that backline of Argentina.
Kelechi Iheanacho: The mobile Leicester record signing will be looking to register his name on the scoreboard as well as dominate the air in the opposition half.
Victor Moses: Has had a tournament to be proud of so far. He just needs to stick to the wingback duties and nullify the threat of Di Maria.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) June 26, 2018
Expected lineups, Formations and Prediction.
Super Eagles of Nigeria ??
La Albiceleste of Argentina ??
Prediction: 2-0 victory for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Time of match: 19:00 WAT
Venue: St. Petersburg
Tournament: World cup.
Confirmed Starting XI for Nigeria vs Argentina :
Nigeria starting XI vs Argentina: Uzoho, Balogun, Ekong, Ebuehi, Idowu, Ndidi, Etebo, Mikel, Musa, Iheanacho, Moses.
Sampaoli’s team will be: Franco Armani, Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Tagliafico, Enzo Perez, Javier Mascherano, Ever Banega, Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain.