Nigeria vs. Argentina
2014 World Cup
June 25 | 12 pm ET | Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre, Brazil
TV: ESPN, Univision, CBC
Argentina, with victories over Iran and Bosnia & Herzegovina, are through to the knockout stages, but they’ll be looking for a win or draw to wrap up the top spot and a Round of 16 meeting against the runner-up team from Group E.
Nigeria, having beaten Bosnia-Herzegovina and tied Iran, are also in good shape to move through but haven’t yet clinched their spot in the next round. A win would put them in the No. 1 spot in the group and a draw would also see them through to the knockout round for the first time since 1998. But if the Super Eagles should lose, they’ll have to hope for an Iran loss or draw against Bosnia-Herzegovina or favorable goal differential should Iran win.
MESSI (WHO ELSE?): As one would expect from a player of Lionel Messi’s quality, he’s almost singlehandedly lifted Argentina through to the group stages with late winners against both Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina – including a stunner to down Team Melli at the death. Now that the pressure to get to the knockout stage is lifted, will we see a more free-flowing Messi, who will play his first game as a 27 year old.
SPEAKING OF: The game location of Porto Alegre is the closest host city in the World Cup to Argentina. Needless to say, his disciples have been streaming across the border to catch a glimpse of greatness. And that’s creating some security concerns, with reports of more than 50,000 fans descending on the venue – many without tickets. State public safety secretary Airton Michels said an additional 1,500 security officers will be sent to the southern coastal city.
PREMATURE CELEBRATION? Nigeria made their first win at the World Cup finals in 16 years count, with a monumental celebration back home that included President Goodluck Jonathan popping champagne late into the night at the Aso Rock Villa in the capitol city of Abuja. Should they qualify for their first knockout round in as many years, how will they follow it up?
GREAT DEFENSE, NO GOALS: Nigeria are the only two team yet to concede a goal, with Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama turning in a save against Iran and seven against Bosnia-Herzegovina. One goal in two games, however, isn’t likely a formula that will work against Argentina.
THE STAR YOU KNOW
- Sergio Aguero, forward, Argentina – The Manchester City striker admitted himself he could have been better in his side’s first two games. He’s always prime for a big game with all the attention on a certain someone.
THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU
- Enyeama, goalkeeper, Nigeria – His stock is rising after a huge game against Bosnia-Herzegovina, with Arsenal now rumored to be a suitor.