Preview - Nigeria v Argentina

Nigeria v Argentina
Kick Off - 17:00
25th June 2014
Porto Alegre

Predicted Line-ups

Nigeria: Enyeama, Efe, Omeruo, Yobo, Oshaniwa, Onazi, Mikel, Babatunde, Musa, Odemwingie, Emenike

Argentina: Romero, Zabaleta, Garay, Fernandez, Rojo, Mascherano, Gago, Di Maria, Messi, Aguero, Higuain

Did you see the video of Luis Suarez that came out straight after the England game? If you didn’t it’s right here.

Thanks to a misspent childhood watching Spanish soap operas, I’ve been able to gain a rudimentary understanding of Latin American language in all its glory and thus have been able to translate his heartfelt message to his fans across the world. Be warned though, it makes for some quite shocking reading.

“Hey guys! Can you believe that? I just totes won us the game back there! …Did you see Gerrard back head that punt?.... So random! Lol. I couldn’t be happier right now, we’ve all just got back into the changing room and the atmosphere is electric. The gaffer has sky+ WWE RAW so, we’re all going to jump in the cold bath and stick it on. Apparently there was a ladder match, can’t believe we missed it! We all want to say a massive thanks to the ingenious lads that smuggled some more Dulche De Leche across the border for us disguised as human shit and we will all strive to keep making you proud in this tournament. We know we need to win against Italy but don’t worry, I plan to do that at any cost – Even if that includes biting a chunk out of Pirlo’s cock. I asked the gaffer if he thought that tactic would work but he said he doubts whether I could bite Pirlo’s cock – He said Pirlo puts his fine length where he wants it, right down your gullet at just the right speed….So instead I’ll focus on one of the back four – Chiellini probably… Gaffer said that was fine, it’s not as if the world’s media is watching or anything. I’d just like to thank my fans for sticking with me… Not the ones in Liverpool though, I’m moving to Barcelona, but all those at home who pray for me – that second goal was for you….The header was for John Cena. Word Life.”

Damning stuff there.

So while FIFA mull over just which naughty step to sit Hannibal Suarez on, we can all try and get our heads back on the football to play today. Argentina will look to see off Group F with a win over Nigeria but the Africans could still squeeze through themselves if they snatch a win. There are some fairly mad goal difference/goals scored/playoff game of Pass The Pigs permutations regarding this – see here for a more in depth analysis of what could happen.

On the injury front, star man and Samsung pin-up Victor Moses is likely to miss out through injury as are Godfrey Oboabona, and defensive midfielder Reuben Gabriel. This will probably mean Stoke’s Peter Odemwingie will start again up top having scored in the last game against Bosnia.


Nigeria fan in London? Ruse in Borough is MatchPint's Official Super Eagles pub hub, head down for what should be a cracking atmospher.

Argentina meanwhile have no injury concerns whatsoever but being in somewhat of a position of power may see them opt to rest a few players for the knockout stages. They only need a draw to top the group so we could see Higuain, Aguero or Messi given a seat on the bench. The two teams have faced each other three times in competitive World Cup matches with the Argies running away with all of the points. Couple that stat with the fact that Nigeria have never beaten a South American team at a World Cup and this one looks like a bit of a foregone conclusion….Or does it?!

Before the tournament started, Group F was pitched as a walk in the park for Argentina. They were predicted to run riot and turn over all in their path but that hasn’t exactly worked out in reality. They’ve registered two wins but by no means was the game against Iran comprehensive. Lionel Messi looked out of sorts and was a shadow for 92 minutes before popping up with, to be fair to him, an absolute hum-dinger. I guess that’s what the real big dogs do eh?

So the Argentinians have made it difficult for themselves, not breaking down lesser opposition in the way they probably should. Were it not for some moments of Messi magic the group table could be looking very different indeed right about now. Nigeria haven’t conceded a goal in the tournament so far and look resolute at the back. Young centre back Kenneth Omerue has had an absolutely terrific season on loan at Middlesbrough (a sentence so rarely written about anyone) and looks assured so far. Whether that confidence still resides after he goes toe to toe with old Messi and Aguero remains to be seen but he is definitely a pivotal part of the Nigerian defence.

This game will be won and lost in the Nigerian final third. The Super Eagles boast some serious pace up front so if they can break down the constant barrage of Latin pressure and feed the ball to Odemwingie and Ahmed Musa they may be able to sneak a goal. Coach Stephen ‘YOLO’ Keshi will field a similar 4-3-3 formation as used in the last two games with lynchpin John Obi Mikel anchoring the midfield allowing Musa and Igiebor to get forward.

Whilst Nigeria haven’t yet conceded, they also have only scored one. In Argentina they face a much sterner test at the back which is why I think this one has got blue and white written all over it. A convincing win for the Albiceleste – 3-0, with Messi stepping up with the tournaments first hat-trick.

Stupid bets: Messi hat-trick, 3 Goals in the first half, Nigeria less than 3 shots. (It comes in threes)

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Steve Garland

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