Wednesday - Aug 23, 2017

World Cup Round-Up- Argentina and Nigeria provided an open, goal-laden World Cup match


Argentina and Nigeria provided an open, goal-laden World Cup match

Argentina and Nigeria provided an open, goal-laden World Cup match at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre on Wednesday. Both sides went into the match intent on playing attacking football, and Messi took just two minutes to stamp his authority on the match, netting the opener after an Angel De Maria shot had been parried by Nigeria’s excellent goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama onto the post.

However, within less than two minutes Nigeria showed that they weren’t there to make up the numbers when their talented striker Ahmed Musa, who plays for CSKA Moscow curled a beautiful shot home from the edge of the box after being fed by midfielder Michel Babatunde, marking the first time in World Cup history that two opposing teams had both scored inside the first five minutes.

Lionel Messi gave the Argentineans the lead just before the break with a 25-yard free-kick, just a few minutes after forcing an exceptional save from Enyeama from a very similar position.

The second half got underway at the same pace as the first with both sides scoring within its first five minutes. First of all Musa scored an equalizer in the 47th minute for the Suoer Eagles, becoming the first Nigerian player to score twice in a World Cup match, slotting the ball past Sergio Romero after playing an intricate one-two with Emmanuel Emenike.

After that set back Argentina pressed once again forward with Di Maria twice forcing Enyeama to make good stops, before defender Marcos Rojo restored their lead from a corner, with the match petering out to a 3-2 victory, with the Nigerians easing of knowing that Bosnia were doing the job for them against Iran.

Iran went into last night’s match against already-eliminated Bosnia-Hercegovina knowing that a victory would take them through, assuming that Nigeria would not defeat Argentina, but they started flatly and their hopes were dented in the 23rd minute when Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko gave the Bosnians the lead with a crisp shot from 25 yards.

The Bosnians doubled their lead with just under an hour gone when Tino Susic picked up the ball in midfield and played in Roma’s Miralem Pjanic, who didn’t panic and finished coolly into the corner.

Iran -pulled themselves back into it when RezaGhoochannejhad tapped home at the back post after a Bosnia defensive mix up, however, their comeback were quickly dashed when almost immediately after the restart, full-back Avdija Vrsajevic through showed a lot of composure to score his first international goal and give Bosnia their first ever victory in a major tournament sending the Iran side home at the group stage , as has been the case in their other three World Cup campaigns.

Yesterday’s results meant Argentina finish top of Group F with three wins from three games, while Nigeria qualified in second with four points after Iran failed to defeat Bosnia-Hercegovina.

France did all that they had to do to continue their progress in the 2014 World Cup, finishing top of Group E after a goalless draw with Ecuador who had their captain Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia sent off, and for the second time in his last four games for the national side.

Impressive victories over Honduras and Switzerland, meant that a point was enough to send Les Blues through and they looked perfectly comfortable in achieving it, after manager Didier Deschamps made six changes to the French starting line-up, bringing in Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Morgan Schneiderlin and Paul Pogba who all played their part in easing the French into the next stage.

Switzerland went into their match against lowly Honduras, knowing that they needed a victory, whilst depending on the French not to fail against Ecuador.

The Swiss fulfilled their part of the bargain, scoring an impressive 3-0 victory over Honduras, thanks to a hat-trick from Xherdan Shaqiri of Bayern Munich. Shaqiri calmed manager Ottmar Hitzfeld’s nerves in the sixth minute when he gave the Swiss the lead with a fine 25-yard strike, doubling his goal tally in the 31st minute and completing his hat trick in the 71st to send his country into the knockout stages for only the third time in their history.

Argentina take on Switzerland in Tuesday in Sao Paulo, while Nigeria will face France in the last 16 in Brasilia on Monday.

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