FIFA World Cup: Nigeria vs Argentina preview


Mighty Argentina are nearly out of the World Cup ahead of their final group stage match, they need to beat Nigeria at Saint-Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday if they want to avoid a shameful exit. The two teams have met in a friendly match last year in November and Nigeria pulled off quite an upset then by beating Argentina 4-2. Argentina also met Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup, they won 3-2 with two goals from Lionel Messi while Ahmed Musa scored twice for the Africans. Overall, Argentina met Nigeria at four World Cup tournaments and the South Americans won all four matches.

Nigeria had a slow start to their World Cup campaign and they were deservedly beaten by Croatia 2-0, but then they recovered with a fine 2-0 victory over Iceland. Now the Africans have a good chance of qualifying for the next round, even a draw against Argentina would get them through if Iceland don't beat Croatia by two goals. Head coach Gernot Rohr employed a three-man defence against Iceland last time out and it worked out well for Nigeria, so they will probably stick to the same system for Tuesday's match.

Argentina have been a huge disappointment so far, they started with a 1-1 draw against Iceland and then sunk even deeper as they got thrashed by Croatia 3-0. The performance against Iceland was actually not that bad, but the way Argentina played against Croatia was absolutely terrible. There are rumours of major dissent in the dressing room but none of them were confirmed. In order to qualify Argentina have to beat Nigeria and hope that Iceland don't beat Croatia by a bigger difference. Head coach Jorge Sampaoli has to make some changes ahead of Tuesday's match, starting with replacing goalkeeper Willy Caballero after his disastrous display against Croatia.

Probable line-ups:

Nigeria: Uzoho - Balogun, Troost-Ekong, Omeruo - Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Ebuehi - Iheanacho, Musa

Argentina: Armani - Salvio, Mercado, Otamendi, Tagliafico - Banega, Mascherano, Perez - Messi, Higuain, Di Maria

My prediction: Argentina to win 3-2, I am expecting one of the most spectacular matches at the 2018 World Cup so far.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Nigeria win - 6.50
Draw - 4.33
Argentina win - 1.55

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