Argentina loss gifts Nigeria lifeline; now Super Eagles must take it

Argentina’s 3-0 loss to Croatia has given Nigeria a golden opportunity to take their destinies into their own hands, and they must take it.

The Super Eagles looked dejected, as their goal of making it out of the group stage was made even hard by that morale-sapping defeat.

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But football has proven to be a game of opportunities, and Nigeria have been handed a golden opportunity to qualify for the round of 16, thanks Croatia’s defeat of Argentina.

All of a sudden there is hope!

And, all the Super Eagles need to do is to win against Iceland on Friday and avoid defeat against the Argentines in their final group game.

With the Abiceleste looking lethargic and uninspiring, there is no reason why Nigeria should not fancy their chances. They just have to grab it.

Group D is currently very open. The only team that has so far cemented its status in the next round is Croatia. That means Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland all stand a chance of joining the Croats in the round of 16.

It is rare for a country to be presented with such a glorious opportunity after losing its opening game. However, Argentina’s surprise slump in Russia means everything is possible in this group.

In the lead up to the World Cup, the aficionados would have predicted qualification for Croatia and Argentina in Group D, but whereas Luca Modric and Co. have lived up to expectation, Messi and his compatriots have simply disappointed.

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That is not to say Nigeria will have it easy against Sampaoli’s side or against Iceland. Iceland, in particular, have shown in the last couple of years that they are not a side to be underestimated.

This is a country that qualified for the World Cup at the expense of a European powerhouse like the Netherlands. The Boys also defeated England in the round of 16 of EURO 2016 – that is enough proof that they are no joke of a team.

Even more impressive, Heimir Hallgrímsson’s side held Argentina to a 1-1 draw in their debut World Cup game.

All the above records indicate that Iceland could trouble Nigeria, but the Super Eagles are equally capable. For a squad that boasts attacking talents like Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Moses and Idion Ighalo, they should have enough fire power to overcome the European minnows.

A golden opportunity stares at Nigeria, and they will have no excuse if they refuse to take it this time round.

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