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Big Match Breakdown: Nigeria v Argentina

Charlie Dear | 26 June 2018

Preview and tips ahead of vital Group D finale

Argentina are in desperate need of a miracle – otherwise known as Lionel Messi – to dig them out of trouble.

After only taking a single point from their first two games they must beat Nigeria to stand any chance of progression.

Nigeria put themselves in with a real chance of a last-16 spot with a win over Iceland. After looking deprived of ideas against Croatia, Ahmed Musa bagged two goals to win.

They know another three points will seal qualification.

The Coral News Team have all the stats, odds and everything you need to know ahead of this pivotal clash.

Head-To-Head

The two teams have faced off eight times already, with the first being a 2-1 Argentina win in the 1994 World Cup.

La Abiceleste hold a five wins to two advantage going into this one. There was also a 0-0 draw as well.

However, the last time they played Nigeria notched four goals in a 4-2 win last year.

Likely XI’s

It may well be an unchanged side for Nigeria in this one. That means Musa retains his place after bagging a brace with Odion Ighalo remaining on the bench.

Nigerian poster-boy Alex Iwobi looks like he will remain a substitute after the 2-0 win over Iceland.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has said this is where there World Cup begins. There may be a few changes as they look to turn their tournament around.

Willy Cabellero’s spot will be in doubt after his error, but may retain his place due to his inexperienced team-mates.

Cases can be argued for Ever Banega, Giovani Lo Celso and Paulo Dybala’s selection. Meanwhile Angel Di Maria could return.

Key Battles

Argentina have played a four and a three-man defence already in this tournament. However, both formations have exposed their frailties at the back.

Marcos Rojo should return to the side as they revert to the same back four that started against Iceland.

However, if Musa, Victor Moses and Kelechi Iheanacho pick up where they left off it could be a long ninety minutes for the Argentine’s.

Going forward Sampaoli’s side have a myriad of options.

Sergio Aguero will lead the line and Nigeria will surely have to repel a wave of attacks from Messi, Di Maria and the rest.

Match odds

Argentina’s need for a win put them as 8/15 favourites for this one. If Messi turns up then not many can stop him.

Nigeria are at 5/1 but a draw could also see them advance, which is at 10/3.

Both teams to score is 3/4.

Messi to notch his first of goal of the World Cup is at 4/5 any time. The Barcelona forward to net a hat-trick is 12/1.

Aguero has scored their only goal of the competition and is a 11/10 shout any time.

Musa to pick up where he left off and open the scoring is 9/1.

Iheanacho to score is a 12/5 any time bet.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing