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'Argentina's defensive problems will now be tested in the latter stages. Nigeria are happy to be there.' - CCFC World Cup Review

26 June 2014

Communications Officer Kieran Crowley looks into the Argentina team as they progress into the last-16...

Nigeria 2-3 Argentina 

Coventry City communications officer Kieran Crowley reviews Argentina's 3-2 win over Nigeria and reviews the prospects for the two sides in the last-16.



The World Cup continues to throw up some great games and this was definitely one of them. Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella has continuously claimed that they're not a one-man team but the first half performance did nothing to help that claim as Lionel Messi continued his incredible World Cup form.

It took him just three minutes to find the net after Angel Di Maria's shot came back off the post for the Barcelona man to smash the ball home. His second was a sublime free-kick which put Argentina 2-1 up at the break.

Whilst Argentina's attacking threats were all to obvious, Nigeria exposed their defensive frailties time and time again. It was took them a minute to equalise through the impressive CSKA Moscow man Ahmed Musa when he had time and space to curl a brilliant shot in the bottom corner. 

Musa's second goal was defensively poor. Boca Juniors midfielder Fernando Gago completely lost his man and a simple one-two developed a huge gap between Federico Fernandez and Marcos Rojo which was exploited by Musa to finish.

Argentina scored the winning goal just three minutes later when the unmarked Rojo slotted home. After getting yourselves level against Argentina, don't throw it away by conceding from a corner. Imagine Steven Keshi's heart-rate. 

Nigeria continued to make life difficult and had chances to equalise but Argentina held on to get three wins from three games at the World Cup.

Performance rating: Argentina 7, Nigeria 7

Man of the Match: Angel Di Maria - Lionel Messi obviously made a telling combination but Di Maria's work-rate throughout the 90 minutes is the key factor in the side's success. Often the driving force behind every attack, Di Maria covered almost every blade of grass.

Prospects: By winning all three games in their group, Argentina have done what they were widely expected to do. Switzerland will provide a stern test against Argentina but they should progress. Ezequiel Lavezzi impressed after coming on for Sergio Aguero in the second half and he is widely expected to start against the Swiss. 

Gonzalo Higuain needs to find his scoring touch but Argentina will take a lot of confidence from the fact they've got many more gears to move through. Whether Federico Fernandez and Marcos Rojo are international quality defenders will now be tested in the latter stages.

Nigeria have impressed since their opening 0-0 draw against Iran and pipped a strong Bosnia side to qualification. They face France in the last-16, who have been one of the most impressive teams of the tournament so far. Keshi will surely set up the team to sit deep and counter-attack as his team will be able to play without pressure against the French.


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