FULL-TIME, Nigeria 1-2 Argentina: From nearly out to what will be an incredible Round of 16 matchup against France. This was never going to be easy and they suffered a lot, but Argentina are through. Messi has scored his first goal, and Argentina have now become the darkest of dark horses.
GOAL! Nigeria 1-2 ARGENTINA (Rojo 86’): GOAL FOR ARGENTINA! Gabriel Mercado with the cross and Marcos Rojo with a spectacular volley WITH HIS WEAKER FOOT!!! AMAZING!
GOAL! NIGERIA 1-1 Argentina (Moses 51’): And Victor Moses scores! All of that first half work is undone quickly, and Argentina have to chase a winner once again.
PENALTY FOR NIGERIA! Javier Mascherano penalized for pulling a Nigerian defender in the box, and the Super Eagles have a chance for an early equalizer.
SECOND HALF KICKOFF! Nigeria 0-1 Argentina: Let’s finish the job, Leo! Maybe another goal or two for a nice little hat-trick? Just asking.
HALF-TIME, Nigeria 0-1 Argentina: Good news, everyone, Argentina finally look like a football team! It ook three games, but Jorge Sampaoli has found the right system and personnel. It’s a 4-3-3 formation with Messi on the right wing as we saw in the Luis Enrique days at Barça, and it’s worked so far. Ever Banega is dominating midfield and Messi is creating danger up front. The Albiceleste have a narrow lead, but it’s clear they’ve improved. Can they finish the job?
GOAL! Nigeria 0-1 ARGENTINA (Messi 14’): GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL DE LEO!!! Messi finally opens his World Cup account with a beautiful right-footed finish after a lovely ball by Ever Banega. The Albiceleste lead, and the GOAT has scored!
KICKOFF! Nigeria 0-0 Argentina: COME ON, LEO!
Starting XI: Uzoho; Moses, Balogun, Ekong, Omeruo, Idowu; Etebo, Mikel, Ndidi; Iheanacho, Musa
Bench: Ezenwa (GK), Akpeyi (GK), Echiejile, Ighalo, Shehu, Nwankwo, Obi, Onazi, Iwobi, Ogu, Awaziem, Ebuehi
Starting XI: Armani; Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Pérez, Mascherano, Banega, Di María; Messi, Higuaín
Bench: Guzmán (GK), Caballero (GK), Ansaldi, Biglia, Fazio, Acuña, Meza, Salvio, Agüero, Lo Celso, Dybala, Pavón
Day 13 of what’s been a fantastic World Cup is upon us, and this may be the biggest of all for Barcelona fans. Depending on how this one goes, we might not care about this tournament at all anymore, and it’s all about the best player of all time.
Lionel Messi and Argentina take the pitch in St. Petersburg against Nigeria fighting for their lives. Even though they have just one point and suffered an embarrassing loss to Croatia, the Albiceleste are in a pretty comfortable position to advance. The formula is simple: beat Nigeria and score more goals than Iceland. If Iceland don’t beat Croatia, a 1-0 win is enough.
But a win is a must. No other result helps Argentina, and the problem is they haven’t given us any reason to believe they can beat Nigeria. So as it always is when it comes to big Argentina games, Lionel Messi will have to decide. The last time he was faced with that scenario, Messi scored a hat-trick away from home against Ecuador in the final night of the World Cup Qualifiers and sent his nation to Russia. So yeah, he can get the job done for his team.
This will be nervous, but it could also be a lot of fun. Don’t miss it, and join us for the live blog when the team news are announced!
Date/Time: Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 8pm CET (Barcelona), 7pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 2pm EST, 11am PST (USA), 11.30pm IST (India)
Venue: Saint Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM WORLD CUP
How to watch on TV: FOX (USA), BBC One (UK), SuperSport 3 (Nigeria), Sony ESPN (India), TSN (Canada), others
How to stream: BBC iPlayer (UK), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)
Matchday Thread Rules
We don’t have a lot of rules here, but there are a few things to keep in mind when joining our matchday threads:
Even if the referee sucks or we lose the game, no swearing. It’s just unnecessary. Also, don’t discuss illegal streaming links. Those who do will be warned, and those who post links will be banned. Finally, be nice to each other. This is a Barcelona community and we don’t need to offend one another, especially when it’s the World Cup.
Have fun with the game! Forever and ever, no matter the competition, VISCA EL BARÇA!