By Oluwatoyin Adeleye
Nigeria is set to face Argentina at 7pm tonight in the ongoing #Russia2018 world cup and it is going to be a defining match for the two teams.
But, coming face to face at crucial football times is not new to either of the two teams. Argentina and Nigeria have had to play against one another, and be in the same group since 1994, making it 24 years of non-stop rivalry.
Croatia, which is also a part of Group D in the ongoing Russia 2018, has already qualified by topping the group, so Nigeria and Argentina both need a win to reach the Round of 16.
Recall that when Nigeria faced Argentina at the USA 94, Argentina beat the Super Eagles 2-1 and that generation of the super eagles was known as the golden generation and were rated fifth in the world. Samson Siasia took the goal shot for Nigeria. But both countries crashed out in the second round.
Next time the Super Eagles faced Argentina was in Korea-Japan 2002, where Argentina beat Nigeria 1-0. We had missed the country at the previous World Cup match in France 98. But neither country made it to the second round – again.
Then Nigeria faced Argentina in South Africa 2010 where once again, we lost to the country.
Nigeria tried better in Brazil 2014, where we lost to Argentina 2-3. Lionel Messi was Nigeria’s bane in that match, but Ahmed Musa proved quite useful, as he also scored for us.
So it would seem that so far, the statistics have not been on Nigeria’s side, when it comes to facing Argentina, as we have not beat the country at a World Cup since 1994.
But Nigeria’s current coach, Gernot Rohr thinks the tide can still turn in our favour and we are with him on that. He said at a press conference that: “Runs like that have to come to an end at some point.”
And for once, Argentina does not have the upper hand as they go into the match later today in St. Petersburg, as their outing at Russia 2018 so far has been quite daunting. Not only are the players in an open revolt against their coach Jorge Sampaoli, their star man Lionel Messi has not even netted a goal yet. All they have is a hope that their fifth meeting with Nigeria will yield the same result for them.
So as we gear up to cheer the Super Eagles tonight, let us say a prayer with the hope that our current two-goal hero, Ahmed Musa can take us to our promised land.
Other matches today
Australia vs Peru
Denmark vs France
Iceland vs Croatia
Saudi Arabia 2- Egypt 1
Uruguay 3- Russia 0
Iran 1- Portugal 1
Spain 2- Morocco 2
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