Moscow, June 25 (IANS) Nigeria’s final Group D game against Argentina promises to be one of the most dramatic to date in the World Cup finals as both sides look to book a place in the last 16 of the competition.
Nigeria bounced back from an opening game disappointment when they lost 2-0 to Croatia, to beat Iceland by the same margin in Volgograd,” reports Xinhua news agency.
A draw against Argentina will probably be enough to put them into the next round.
Argentina have been the biggest disappointment of the World Cup so far, and with Leo Messi out of form they have lacked cohesion and energy, prompting stories of divisions between players and coach Jorge Sampaoli.
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr is optimistic his side can eliminate Argentina, even though they have never beaten them in a World Cup fixture.
“That sort of a run has to end sometime,” he said in an interview with FIFA.
“We are confident because we beat Argentina in a friendly (in Russia) last year, coming back from 2-0 down to win 4-2,” Leo Messi didn’t play, but we scored four wonderful goals and that gives us hope,” continued Rohr.
The Nigerian coach insisted his side were still the underdogs against Argentina, who have only one point from 2 matches after drawing 1-1 against Iceland and losing 3-0 to Croatia.
“You have to put Argentina’s so-called weakness into perspective. They had bad luck with the penalty in their first game, and the outcome would’ve been different if that had gone in,” he explained, adding that Messi is “one of the best players in the world” and that Argentina have “unbelievable quality throughout the team.”
Nigeria will look to counter Messi and company with “youthful abandon, enthusiasm and desire. Most of our players want to get to where the Argentinians already are: the very top,” commented Rohr, who believes the match will be a showcase for the talent in his squad.
“The whole world will be watching this game and it’s a chance to show what we’re capable of,” he concluded.