Nigeria qualifies for the knockout round with a draw or wins against Argentina if Iceland loses or draw against Croatia. If Argentina beat Nigeria in their final game of Group D and Croatia beat Iceland, Argentina goes through. They will also go through if they beat Nigeria, Iceland beat Croatia, and Argentina’s goal difference betters Iceland.
Argentina vs. Nigeria 2018 World Cup Group C Betting Analysis
Sampaoli’s plans for Argentina’s crucial World Cup clash with Nigeria leaked
Reports in Argentina suggest he could go with the following team: Franco Armani; Salvio or Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Enzo Pérez, Mascherano, Banega; Messi, Higuaín and Di María. pic.twitter.com/L7ocOZ3RaV
— BarcaTimes (@BarcaTimes) 24 de junio de 2018
- When: Tuesday, 2 PM ET
- Where: St. Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg, Russia
- TV / Stream: Fox / Fox Sports Go
- 2018 World Cup Betting Odds: Argentina -179 / Nigeria +480 / Draw +310 (2.5)
Why Bet on Nigeria?
- Confederation: CAF
- Head coach: Gernot Rohr
- Captain: John Obi Mikel
- FIFA Ranking: 48
- World Cup Appearances: 6
The Nigerians opened the tournament with a 2-0 loss to Croatia but then beat Iceland by the same score. Ahmed Musa scored twice on his return to the starting lineup in the win over Iceland. The Leicester forward, on loan at CSKA Moscow last season, struck a volleyed opener four minutes after the restart. He also scored in the 83rd minute.
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr made three changes to his team for that match, bringing in Kelechi Iheanacho and Musa up front and Kenneth Omeruo in defense. With four goals, Musa is now his country’s all-time top scorer in World Cup games; only Asamoah Gyan (six for Ghana) and Roger Milla (five for Cameroon) have scored more for an African nation.
It was only Nigeria’s second win in their last 14 matches at the World Cup (D3 L9), having also beating Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014. Nigeria did not attempt a single shot in the opening 45 minutes, the first side to do so in the first half of a World Cup match since South Korea against Algeria in 2014. All six of Nigeria’s wins at the World Cup have come against European opposition, and they have kept a clean sheet in five of those six victories.
Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel suffered a fractured metacarpal in the win over Iceland but plans to play here. The metacarpal bones form the intermediate part of the skeletal hand located between the phalanges of the fingers and the carpal bones of the wrist which forms the connection to the forearm.
Brian Idowu, William Troost-Ekong, Nicolas Otamendi, Gabriel Mercado and Marcos Acuna are all at risk of suspension – they will miss any subsequent game if they are booked in this match.
Four of the eight games between Nigeria and Argentina have come at World Cup finals – Argentina winning all four contests. Nigeria has faced Argentina in the group stages in each of their last three World Cups (2002, 2010, 2014). Nigeria’s most recent encounter with Argentina came in November 2017, with the Super Eagles winning 4-2 in Krasnodar, thanks in part to a brace from Alex Iwobi.
- 23-F. Uzoho
- 6-L. Balogun
- 22-K. Omeruo
- 5-W. Troost-Ekong
- 2-B. Idowu
- 10-J. Obi Mikel
- 11-V. Moses
- 4-W. Ndidi
- 8-O. Etebo
- 7-A. Musa
- 14-K. Iheanacho
Why Bet on Argentina?
- Confederation: CONMEBOL
- Head coach: Jorge Sampaoli
- Captain: Lionel Messi
- FIFA Ranking: 5
- World Cup Appearances: 17
It would be a stunner was Argentina not to advance out of the group stage. For the first time since 2002, Argentina will not top their World Cup group. They last finished runners-up in a World Cup group at Spain 1982. Argentina has never previously gone through a first-round World Cup group stage without at least one victory before.
No player has ever scored World Cup goals as a teenager, then in his twenties and then in his thirties. Lionel Messi could become the first player in World Cup history to achieve this feat. Messi’s last World Cup goal came against Nigeria four years ago. Messi has had 12 shots in this World Cup so far but has yet to score – that’s eight more attempts than any other Argentina player.
Messi, who had 11 shots in the opening game against Iceland, didn’t manage a single attempt on goal until the 64th minute vs. Croatia. The Barcelona forward has looked stressed and miserable in both games, been largely crowded off the ball and missed a penalty against Iceland while he was anonymous versus Croatia.
The Argentines opened with a 1-1 draw vs. Iceland and then were blasted 3-0 by Croatia. That has players reportedly sniping, although defender Javier Mascherano denied reports of a division between coach Jorge Sampaoli and the players after the loss to Croatia. Reports this week in Argentina and Spain have not only indicated Sampaoli has lost the team, but also that the players themselves will decide who starts and the formation they use against Nigeria.
“The relationship with the coach is totally normal,” Mascherano said. “Obviously, when we feel some discomfort or we see something, we express it to him because otherwise, we would be hypocrites. If you are uncomfortable with something on the pitch and don’t express it to the coach, are you going to play an uncomfortable game? You would be harming the team.”
Sampaoli made three changes from the first match to the second as Marcos Rojo was replaced by Gabriel Mercado in defense, Lucas Biglia made way for Enzo Perez in midfield and Angel Di Maria was dropped for Marcos Acuna on the left.
- 12-F. Armani
- 14-J. Mascherano
- 2-G. Mercado
- 17-N. Otamendi
- 3-N. Tagliafico
- 15-E. Pérez
- 16-M. Rojo
- 7-E. Banega
- 10-L. Messi
- 11-A. Di María
- 9-G. Higuaín
Expert Final Score Prediction
Argentina 3 – Nigeria 2