Nigeria's 'Lionel Musa' warns Argentina he is not their hero

Jun 27, 2018, 03:28
Nigeria's 'Lionel Musa' warns Argentina he is not their hero

Lionel Messi's team were pushed to the brink of an early exit after a stunning 3-0 loss to Croatia on Thursday, but victory in their final Group D game against Nigeria could now send them through to the last 16.

The Super Eagles would have gone out with defeat but came good in Volgograd.

Musa then struck the crossbar with a shot from distance before brilliantly scoring his second.

A win would take Nigeria through to the knockout rounds while a draw will be enough providing Iceland do not beat group leaders Croatia by a big enough margin. Always a menacing figure down the flanks, Moses completed four dribbles, made three clearances, three blocks and completed 57 passes on a game that was completely dominated by the West-African giants.

Iceland, the smallest nation ever to compete in the World Cup, was not as effective as it had been against Argentina when it earned a surprise 1-1 draw.

Captain Aron Gunnarsson launched a long throw into the box and, after Bodvarsson had made a nuisance of himself, a push gave Iceland a free-kick just outside the area.

With a win over Nigeria, Iceland would nearly assuredly advance to the knockout stage.

Victory in that game for Nigeria, on the other hand, would now guarantee their progress. They went a goal behind but hit back instantly and ended up taking an unexpected point from the game. Goal differential is the first group stage tiebreaker, and at this point Iceland has given up two more goals than it has scored, while Argentina is facing a three-goal deficit.

Nigeria are now on a World Cup losing streak of three games, their worst run since losing four matches between 1998 and 2002.

FC Augsburg's striker Alfred Finnbogason has scored in his last three appearances for Iceland, though they've failed to win any of those matches (D2, L1).

Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson changed to a 4-4-2, from the 4-5-1 he used against Argentina, bringing in Jon Bodvarsson up front to partner Finnbogason.

- This was Iceland's first defeat in a group stage match at a major global tournament, having previously drawn three and won one of their four games.

Marca quoted Rohr as adding that Nigeria "will have the tactics to win the match".

Nigeria boss Gernot Rohr: "What I like in my young team is humility, solidarity and fighting spirit".

Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level.

- This was only Nigeria's second win in their last 14 matches at the World Cup (D3 L9), having also beating Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.