Today’s Predictions: Nigeria vs Argentina
Nigeria 1 – 2 Argentina
The 39th match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup sees South American giants Argentina take on an inspired Nigerian side, with both sides yet to qualify.
- Date : 26th June 2018
- Time : 11:30 PM (IST)
- Venue : St Petersburg Stadium
Lionel Messi’s Argentina are currently bottom of this group, surprisingly, and will get knocked out if they fail to win this match, while a draw might be enough for Nigeria to qualify from this group, provided Iceland fail to beat Croatia by a good margin.
FIFA World Cup Qualification
Argentina were in grave danger of not qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2018, with unexpected defeats at home to Paraguay and Ecuador, and a crushing 3-0 defeat in Brazil. The ‘Albiceleste’ changed 3 different managers across the qualification phase, and their dependence on Messi was highlighted as they failed to win the games which his missed due to injury. It took a special performance from their best player in the final qualifier to secure a spot in the tournament, with Messi scoring a stunning hattrick against Ecuador.
Nigeria had to wade their way through a very tricky group containing Algeria, Zambia and Cameroon. The Green Eagles dominated through the group stage with 14 points, and gave an entire nation hope for a good showing at the World Cup.
Argentina have endured a mixed run of form in recent weeks. They have won 4 out of their last 6 matches, including an impressive 2-0 victory over Italy. However, they conceded 10 goals in two crushing defeats to Spain and Nigeria, making fans extremely worried about their fragile defense. They are without a win at this world cup and their whole campaign rests on a big win in this match.
Nigeria have been in comparatively poor form of late. Despite an amazing 4-2 win against Argentina last November, followed by an impressive 1-0 win against Poland, they could not keep up the momentum. However, they won their last match against Iceland and will be looking to qualify with at least a draw.
World Cup So Far
Argentina succumbed to a shock 1-1 draw against World Cup debutants Iceland in their opening fixture, with Lionel Messi largely disappointing, none more so than when he missed a penalty that would have given them the lead. Their defence looked shaky again and that is a major worry for this top-heavy side. In their second match, they were completely thrashed by a brilliant Croatia side, as they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat, and are now staring at an unexpected early exit.
Nigeria suffered a disappointing defeat to Croatia in a match where they were completely outplayed. However, they came back strongly with a brilliant and much needed win against Iceland, to be second in their group, and with a very realistic chance of qualifying for the next stage.
Head To Head Record
These two nations have met 8 times before, including in 4 previous World Cups, with Argentina winning all 4 of them, while Nigeria have 2 victories in friendlies.
Argentina pulled off one of the biggest surprises when it came to squad selection, when they left out Serie A’s top scorer Mauro Icardi, with rumours of a rift between the striker and Lionel Messi. However, Manuel Lanzini’s ACl tear has ensured that he will miss the World Cup, and Icardi might be selected to take his place. Apart from that, goalkeeper Sergio Romero has also been ruled out due to injury.
Nigeria have several current and ex Premier League players in their starting 11, a testament that the team does have the winning mentality instilled in it’s core members. The team’s morale and belief in each other has often carried them past all kinds of hurdles, and they would be aiming to cause an upset and move to the next round.
Players To Watch Out For
Argentina have an abundance of attacking talent. So many world-class players that it is difficult to mention just a few of them. Lionel Messi is the undisputed best player in the squad, and the team will revolve around him Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain are more than capable of sharing the goal-scoring burden with him, while the young Paulo Dybala would like to announce himself on the big stage. The experienced Angel Di Maria is also one to watch as he can turn the game around single handedly.
Nigeria have several Premier League mainstays carrying them for the past few years. Captain John Obi Mikel is nothing less than a Chelsea legend, having won every trophy at the club in his 9 years there. Chelsea winger Victor Moses is in stellar form and always ups his game during international tournaments. Youngsters Alex Iwobi and Iheanacho can also show the world what they are capable of. Ahmed Musa struck two goals against Iceland and is in great form.
Argentina Vs Nigeria Betting Odds And Key Statistics
- Argentina are the favourites to win this match, but Nigeria are looking confident as well, after a big win against Iceland.
- With the attacking talent at Argentina’s disposal, combined with Nigeria’s defensive problems, we expect plenty of goals in this match, and hence betting the both teams to score as well under 2.5 goals markets is a good idea.
- Lionel Messi to score the first goal is also a bet we recommend, as he would be looking to comeback from his penalty miss horror from the first match and the blank in the second match
Argentina were the initial favourites to top Group D, however, that mantle has now been taken by Croatia after 2 rounds, and the South Americans are actually bottom of their group now. However, we firmly expect them to step up and ensure they get a solid victory to qualify for the next stage.
Our Predicted Scoreline: Argentina 3-1 Nigeria