Nigeria vs Argentina
Nigeria reacted really well in the second round after their starting defeat against Crotia. Especially well they played in the second halftime after Iceland created couple of decent in the first part of the clash. Development of the game went onto their side as Musa score the opening goal in fourth minute of the second halftime.
Iceland risked more, but they only got into trouble as Nigerians used pace of their offensive players really well. Musa scored second in 75th minute which is one of the finest goals so far in the competition, while Iceland missed a penalty kick few minutes before the full time whistle.
Nigerians now need a draw here, providing that Iceland will not beat Croatia (who are supposed and already confirmed that they will rest some of star players) with more than two goals difference. In order to be safe, they need a victory but no doubt that this will not be their primary target from the early phase into the match.
Musa and Iheanacho should lead the attack of Nigerian squad. Their coach Gernot Rohr moved to a three man defense and should continue with that option in a version similar to 3-5-2 formation.
After quite disappointing 1:1 draw in the competition opener against Iceland, Argentinians have gone from poor to poorer suffering defeat against Croatia 0:3 last Thursday evening. They tried to do something more via possession but lacked real chances while the Croats tried to threaten via bit of counter attacks in first halftime that ended without goals.
Everything change in the second part when Argentinian goalkeeper Caballero made a huge mistake which led to Rebic bringing the Croats into the lead. They had even more ball possession, but everything was in vain.
As the time progressed, South Americans looked more and more nervous and couldn't do much with their neurological movement on the field. Modric and finally Rakitic in last ten minutes sealed their destiny with a 3:0 victory.
In order to progress or keep the chances high during the evening, Argentina needs to get a victory here. In case Iceland takes the lead against Croats, it will be a signal for the Argentinians that they can't progress with a narrow victory here.
Messi, Higuain and Di Maria are set to lead Argentinian squad. After their defeat against Croats, Sampaoli is expected to move to a 4-3-3 setup. Some major changes are pretty much expected.
- Nigeria have seen over 2.5 goals in their last 4 matches against Argentina in all competitions.
After Argentina has hit a rock bottom against Croatia and probably even thought that they are eliminated, I can see their situation only becoming better. Coach Sampaoli seems to have lost credibility and media rumors that the players will decide the formation, tactics and the lineup doesn't seem to be far away from the truth.
Nigeria surely has their potential and a chance here, but either Argentinian plan will work or not (defeat). Under such circumstances, I'm leaning towards their part of the job in order to stay in Russia being done properly. Looking at nations importance in commercial football, this does seem like a decent value bet.
Nigeria vs Argentina prediction
Argentina -1.5 Asian handicap @ 2.58 with Pinnacle