Nigeria vs Argentina preview, betting tips and prediction

Messi playing for Argentina during the match against Nigeria - World Cup Free Bets
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What a gift Group D has been to this World Cup. Arguably the closest thing to a group of death, it could be fatal for Argentina unless they can perform against Nigeria in their final group game. Even then, nothing is certain. Argentinian fans will hold off on the permutations game. With the way their team has performed, defeat looks the likeliest result. Argentina probably have the best array of attacking talent in the competition, which is saying something. But it’s all for nothing when the rest of the team comes up as short as it does. Willy Caballero is a weak link but the Chelsea reserve is a scapegoat if he is to represent Argentina’s downfall. Jorge Sampaoli deserves his share of the blame as does the forgettable midfield and petulant defence. Lionel Messi was fairly anonymous throughout but can’t really be expected to work miracles.

John Obi Mikel is Nigerias strongest player - World Cup Free Bets

Nigeria were resurgent against Iceland. Powerful and energetic throughout, the European underdogs couldn’t contain them for the entire game. After a disappointing display in their defeat to Croatia, Nigeria looked determined to get a result and had to wait a while for Iceland to slip up. But slip up they did when they committed too many bodies forward for a corner and Nigeria caught them on a counter-attack. The first of Ahmed Musa’s double was a gloriously satisfying goal. Stopping a hard cross with his first touch, the forward waited for the ball to fall out of the air before sweeping it into the roof of the net. This cohesive Nigeria side will fancy their chances, especially after beating Argentina in a friendly as recently as last November.

Form

Argentina were saved in World Cup qualifying by Lionel Messi’s decision to come out of retirement. A fairytale turn of events for the Barcelona wizard. It doesn’t look like it will have a happy ending though. Not even Messi can inspire this ragtag Argentina team and two insipid performances in the group stage thus far have left them circling the drain.

Nigeria bounced back from defeat to Croatia with a purposeful performance against Iceland. The Super Eagles played with verve and will be confident that they can continue a decent record against Argentina and book their passage to the next round.

Team news

Argentina have a fully-fit squad but fans are worried about the team that Sampaoli will pick for this decider. Why haven’t the likes of Giovani Lo Celso featured?

Nigeria will be sweating over the fitness of key man John Obi Mikel. He injured his wrist in stoppage time of the victory over Iceland but should recover in time.

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