Kick-off: Tuesday, 26th June @19:00 GMT
Venue: Zenit Arena, St. Petersburg
Head to head record
Nigeria have faced Argentina a total of eight times, four times in the World Cup, once in the Confederations Cup and in three friendlies. Argentina won five of those. There was one draw.
Argentina vs Nigeria 2-1 (1994 World Cup)
Argentina vs Nigeria 1-0 (2002 World Cup)
Argentina vs Nigeria 1-0 (2010 World Cup)
Nigeria vs Argentina 2-3 (2014 World Cup)
Nigeria vs Argentina predictions
Argentina could have had a worse start to the World Cup only if they had lost both games. With one point and sitting at the bottom of Group D, Argentina is not in a comfortable position. They need a huge win against Nigeria.
The Nigerian team, even though they are inexperienced when it comes to the World Cup, are confident after their win against Iceland. They kept a clean sheet and scored two goals, both by Ahmed Musa.
Backed into a corner
Argentinians have been backed into the corner. Especially since there are reports of trouble in the locker room between the players and the coach. They need a strong performance to pull them out of trouble. Anything less than a win, and they are going home disappointed.
Both Group D games are played at the same time so there won’t be any room for calculations. Argentina needs to win by a few goals to make sure they finish second irrespective of the result in the other game. Aguero will probably not play after his disagreement with Coach Sampaoli. The coach is also set to leave out goalkeeper Caballero after his catastrophic mistake against Croatia.
It would be easy to single out Messi for Argentina’s failures so far, but he can’t win on his own. It’s a team effort. And they need to pull together as a team, forget what happened in the first two games and concentrate on beating Nigeria in orderto progress to the knockout phase. If they don’t win, this game be the last for Lionel Messi in national colors.
Going against history
Nigerians haven’t had much success in the World cups. They lost all four previous matches against Argentina in the World Cup. And they haven’t won back to back games in the World Cup since 1998.
Musa is at the top of all time goal scoring list for the Nigerian national team with four goals. That shows how inexperienced the team is.
However, this will be the fourth time in the last four World Cups they face Argentina in the group phase. And only eight months ago, Nigeria defeated Argentina 4-2 in a friendly game in Krasnodar, in Russia. There is hope that they can send Argentina home.
- Nigeria has the youngest team on average in this year’s World Cup.
- During the first half of the game against Croatia, Messi and Aguero touched the ball only 27 times in total.
- This is the longest period ever that Argentina haven’t won in a World Cup game; four games now.
- Nigeria have never beaten a side from outside of Europe in a World Cup.
Nigeria vs Argentina betting pick
It’s hard to predict anything but an Argentina win. All betting sites have the same prediction – a comprehensive win for Argentina. But it will be anything but an easy game. Nigeria only needs a draw to advance and they might park the bus in front of their goal.
There are some interesting odds out there, for instance the odds on Messi to score at any point and Nigeria to win the game are 19/1. Argentinians are flawed defensively so we might be looking at a fun game to watch with plenty of goal action from both sides.
Pick: Argentina to win