Nigeria vs Argentina: World Cup 2014 match preview

A look ahead to the Group F match at Porto Alegre

Argentina and Nigeria are ready to settle Group F’s top spot as the Albiceleste would just need a draw to win the table whereas the same result would mathematically help the Nigerians qualify ahead of Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Alejandro Sabella’s side must be in great spirits thanks to star striker Lionel Messi’s form that has casted away his negative record from the last World Cup. However, the team raised doubts with their performance last week where they barely beat Iran – the result could have definitely been different if it was not for the Barcelona player.

The Argentineans are not facing any injury concerns or suspensions but it is not yet clear if Gonzalo Higuain will start up front with Messi and Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, as the manager may decide to save just a couple of players for the next round.

A determined Nigeria know that a draw will help them qualify in second place and a win will send them to the top but manager Stephen Keshi is dealing with the injuries of defender Godfrey Oboabona, defensive midfielder Reuben Gabriel and Chelsea’s Victor Moses – this means that last week’s scorer, and Stoke City forward, Peter Odemwingie could start again.

 

KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 5pm

PAST THREE MEETINGS:

Argentina 3 (Higuain, Di Maria, Echiejile og) Nigeria 1 (Obasi), International Friendly, September 2011

Nigeria 4 (Uche 2, Obinna, Amunike) Argentina 1 (Boselli), International Friendly, June 2011

Argentina 1 (Heinze) Nigeria 0, World Cup, June 2010

STATS:

Both sides have faced each other three times at the World Cup where Argentina won every match.

Argentina striker Lionel Messi scored his third World Cup goal last week. The Barcelona star failed to score a single goal in five matches at the last competition.

The Albiceleste have won 11 of their last 14 World Cup group stage matches and lost only one.

Nigeria’s win against Bosnia-Herzegovina last week marked the nation’s first World Cup victory since 1998. In between, the Super Eagles lost six of their last nine matches. 

ODDS:

Nigeria to win: 7.1

Argentina to win: 4.7

Draw: 11.4

TV: Live on ITV at 5pm

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