Resurgent Super Eagles looking to pile more misery on Messi’s La Albiceleste
Nigeria and Argentina clash in one of the last games of Group D with a place in the round of 16 on the line.
“Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa punishes wasteful Iceland to give Argentina hope,” was the UK ’s headline for the match report while wrote, “On the brink, Argentina handed a final shot at World Cup salvation.”
“Messi and Argentina are flying high thanks to the Super Eagles,” tweeted while Goal international had a cartoon that read; “Nigeria hero Ahmed Musa saves Lionel Messi and Argentina!”
This story angles drew the ire of Nigerians who have been buoyed by the Super Eagles 2-0 win over Iceland to give them a chance of qualification to the World Cup.
Nigeria to dash Messi's hopes?
So why the international media have been obsessed with Lionel Messi’s hopes of winning the World Cup, there are huge expectations from the Super Eagles to get the result that will make them progress to the round of 16.
An outright win will take the Super Eagles to the second round while other results will determine their finish if they draw or lose the game.
The Super Eagles are heading into this game on the back of four defeats in four games against Argentina in the World Cup. Against Messi, Nigeria at all level are still yet to win in four games.
But Ahmed Musa’s record against Messi offers hope.
The 25-year-old has scored against Messi the two times he has faced Argentina. He scored both goals in Nigeria's group stage 3-2 defeat to Argentina in Porto Alegre, Brazil, four years ago and was also on target for Leicester City against Barcelona in a friendly game in 2016.
“I think scoring against Argentina isn't that difficult for me," a confident Musa said after his man-of-the-match performance against Iceland in Volgograd.
“I can remember four years ago when Messi played in Brazil I scored two goals," he recalled.
"And when I transferred to Leicester I played against Barcelona and he's on the pitch and I scored another two goals.
"So I think next game anything can happen -- possibly I'm going to score another two goals," he laughed.
Argentina in turmoil?
Argentina head into the game against Nigeria amidst reports of chaos in their camp and players’ revolt against manager Jorge Sampaoli.
According to several reports, the players have agreed to pick the starting XI themselves although the La Albiceleste have denied the reports.
Argentina are currently enduring their winless run in World Cup finals history but have never previously gone through a first-round World Cup group stage without at least a win.