For Argentina relief revival and World Cup round of 16 all on late goal vs Nigeria

For Argentina relief revival and World Cup round of 16 all on late goal vs Nigeria

Maradona doesnt seem nervous about this upcoming match m/0NRV4ZTsyi

Nigeria defender wants to end Messis World Cup dream

You wouldnt have known of public discontent from the reception before kickoff, a jet-engine roar from the indomitable supporters.

FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer)June 26, 2018

But time seems to stand still for soccers elite teams, and likeGermany 72 hours earlier, Argentina parlayed the dying moments of a group match into a lifesaving goal.

I dont understand how that wasnt a penalty, Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel said. Maybe the referee had given the first penalty and didnt want to give the second one. But a penalty is a penalty. It was a clear penalty. It was a clear handball.

We have suffered a lot, Messi said. It was a difficult situation. There was a lot at stake, and, of course, it was a huge relief, and a relief for all of us.

Faced with group-stage humiliation, Sampaoli shook up the lineup by making several changes, including his goalkeeper. Dreadful against Croatia, Willy Caballero was dropped in place of Franco Armani, who, at 31, had never before appeared in an international match.

Jacob Bogage writes about sports for The Post, where he has worked since 2015. He previously covered the automotive and manufacturing industries for the Business section.Follow

Messi had scored his first goal of the tournament, but after a Nigerian equalizer early in the second half, time was melting away on the game, on the four-year campaign and on Messis efforts to win his first world title in probably his final attempt.

The goal came in the 14th minute. Messi made his run behind a center back. Ever Banega, who had played just 36 minutes in the previous two matches, picked him out by launching a magnificent long ball from the center stripe.

Argentina is creating scoring chances in bulk in the last 10 minutes of play. A draw would send Nigeria through to the knockout stage and eliminate La Albiceleste, the runner-up from four years ago.

Notable: Argentina presented Messi with a cake for his 31st birthday Sunday. Was that La Albicelestes final party in Russia?

In the 74th minute, Nigeria pressed for a chance inside the Argentine 18-yard box. There was a clear handball by Argentinas Marcos Rojo inside the box, but the referee ruled the violation was inadvertent. Calling the violation would have granted Nigeria a potentially decisive penalty shot.

And then Rojo smoked Gabriel Mercados cross into the lower right corner, triggering bedlam in a pro-Argentine venue.

Tactical changes get Nigerias World Cup back on track

Just once in the previous 50 years had Argentina gone out in the group stage.

Previous results: Lost to Croatia, 2-0; defeated Iceland, 2-0

Argentinas Marcos Rojo celebrates after scoring the winning goal in Tuesdays match against Nigeria. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Dont blame Lionel Messi for Argentinas struggles. Blame the coach.

Eight minutes later, on a free kick from 20 yards, Messis bending bid beat Uzoho but struck the far post.

Stop us if youve heard this before…

[Croatia eliminates Iceland with 2-1 win]

La Albiceleste is finally playing possession football for the first time this tournament. Messi has gotten two quality runs into the box and the midfield is doing well to hold up play and allow the forwards to get organized against Nigerias back three. But Nigeria hasnt been without its chances either.

In the 49th minute. The foul yields a Nigeria penalty shot.

Its Messi, and La Albiceleste is alive in Group D. ver Banega played a deep ball over top of the Nigeria defense in the 14th minute right onto Messis foot. He took his defender one-on-one outside, then blasted a shot to the far corner past goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.

The crowd chanted Mess-i! Mess-i! and bowed in unison.

With it, he became the first player to score in a World Cup as a teenager, in his twenties and in his thirties.

Marcos Rojos goal, seen through the net. (Henry Romero/Reuters)Higuain airmails scoring opportunity

ST. PETERSBURG This was the end for Argentina, level with Nigeria when it needed to be ahead, the adversity of a tumultuous two weeks at the World Cup proving too much to bear.

Halftime update: Argentina 1, Nigeria 0

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Whats at stake: A berth in the knockout round. Nigeria will advance with a win or a draw, although the latter result does not guarantee it a spot in the knockout rounds.

In the 32nd minute. The foul stopped a breakaway from Argentinas Nicols Otamendi.

[The World Cup knockout round is taking shape. Heres the bracket and schedule.]

We were worried, he said late Tuesday, because time was going by.

Well, that was easy. Cool and collected Victor Moses finished a penalty shot that tied the game in the 50th minute. This game is back on thin ice for Argentina, which desperately needs a win. If this result holds, Nigeria will advance.

Croatia has locked down a spot in the knockout round. This game is for the rest of the marbles in Group D. Nigeria which will advance with a win, and likely can still advance with a draw looks to keep feeding Chelsea midfielder Victor Moses, a crucial cog in the Super Eagles offense. Argentina, on the other hand, is eliminated with anything short of a win after drawing with Iceland and losing to Croatia. La Albicelestes stars Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria and Sergia Aguero  could be staring down their last chance for World Cup glory.

And no one enjoys an open game more than Messi, who had been stalled in the first two matches by opponents airtight tactics and Argentinas unimaginative performance.

Notable: The Super Eagles were in this position four years ago, and lost, 2-0. They have yet to beat Argentina in World Cup play.

Messi was back, and although spirits had been raised, Argentina scored just once.

Argentina applying the pressure early

SomosArgentina40 STNGA1 – 2ARG¡GOL DE ARGENTINA! Se grita en Rusia, se grita de Ushuaia a La Quiaca. Pelota al rea y Marcos Rojo la agarr de aire, con cara interna del pie derecho.

Its the 100th goal of this World Cup and his sixth career World Cup score.

Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho saves a shot by Argentinas Lionel Messi. (Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Iceland vs. Nigeria 2018 World Cup: Ahmed Musa, Super Eagles soar to 2-0 win

Nigeria had a strong case for a penalty kick in the 76th minute when Rojo headed the ball off his own arm in the box. Cakir reviewed video replay but declined to award the kick.

Heres how it sounded on Argentine television:

We were worried about not going through, Coach Jorge Sampaoli said. Our players play with their hearts. They are true rebels. They were really brave, and that courage made the second goal possible.

For Messi and Argentina, Croatia is latest, largest crater in hard World Cup road

Lionel Messi, thanks for coming. Youre one of the greats, but youre never going to lift that little golden trophy.

A crumb of good news arrived from Rostov-on-Don: Iceland had fallen behind Croatia. The Nigerians also welcomed that score because a draw would keep them ahead of Iceland for second place.

When it ended, Messi and his teammates lingered on the field for some 10 minutes, soaking in the serenade from tens of thousands of countrymen and countrywomen who had made the long trek.

With a cottony touch, Messi brought the ball down with his hip before creating enough space to rip an eight-yard, angled effort past goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and into the far corner.

Yellow card to Argentinas Macherano

Whats at stake: The psyche of a nation. Argentina needs a win and an Iceland loss or draw, or it needs to win big and hope that Iceland doesnt rout Croatia.

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Including the supporters, who had arrived by the train loads, spilling into this picturesque northern city and forming sky-blue ribbons of humanity along the canals and sea wall holding back the Gulf of Finland from the $1.1 billion stadium.

The Super Eagles are awarded a penalty and Moses buries it to make it m/L2OtdqOqG2

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Steven Goff has covered soccer for The Washington Post since the early 1990s. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the U.S. national teams. He has been on assignment at every World Cup since 1994, plus four Womens World Cups.Follow

SomosArgentina3 STNGA0 – 1ARG¡¿Penal?! Polmico fallo del rbitro que le abre a Nigeria la posibilidad de empatar.

How Argentinas fortunes had turned. After adour draw against Icelandand athree-goal defeat to Croatia, the knockout round was almost out of reach. But in an atmosphere that rivaled home settings, Argentina roused to life.

In the wreckage of the Croatia loss, fury and disbelief spread back home and gloom descended on the campaign as rumors circulated that the players had turned on Sampaoli.

With the victory andIcelands 2-1 defeat to first-place Croatia, Argentina (four points) leaped over the Nigerians (three) and Icelanders (one) to claim the second slot and earn a round-of-16 date withFranceon Saturday in Kazan.

Marcos Rojo, the subject of a controversial play 10 minutes prior, scored on a thunderous volley in the 86th minute, and the two-time champions escaped with a 2-1 victory.

Maradonas reaction to Messis goal.

For Argentina, relief, revival and World Cup round of 16, all on late goal vs. Nigeria

MirRusia2018EN VIVO en ▶ bajate la APP /x09Yqlb8NB

Gonzalo Higuain was about 10 yards from the goal when a shallow cross came right to his feet. A decent shot would have had Nigerian keeper Francis Uzoho cleanly beaten. But Higuains attempt was a poor effort, and flew over the crossbar and into the stands.


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The lead evaporated six minutes into the second half after Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir awarded Nigeria a penalty kick. Javier Mascherano had, indeed, grabbed Leon Balogun in the box, but the Nigerian defender fell as if he had lost all muscle power in his legs.

Previous results: Drew, 1-1, vs. Iceland; lost to Croatia, 3-0

His coach, Gernot Rohr, was diplomatic, saying: I believe it was a hand, but its difficult for the referee to make a good interpretation of the video. Its not easy.

Nigerian forwardAhmed Musascored twice in the Super Eagles win over Iceland. He has shown a supreme ability to finish around the goal, and in a game in which Argentina will be forced to push men forward, he will have plenty of opportunities to strike. For La Albiceleste, there is one (predictable) man to keep track of:Messi. Messi, Messi, Messi. A World Cup victory could cement his legacy as the best Argentine football ever, surpassing Diego Maradona.

Argentina looked like its old self: quick, confident and dangerous. The opponents tactics helped; the Nigerians had no plans to sit back and counterattack. Its not their nature, so predictably the match opened up.

Victor Moses converted the spot kick, and Argentina was back where it started.

Higuain misses a big chance for /L9zuZrGBhw

It was exactly the half Argentina needed. Now can it hang on for another 45 minutes? La Albiceleste got an early goal from captain Lionel Messi in the 13th minute, then rode it to a half of organized, possession-oriented football that kept Nigeria off the board. Argentina needs a victory in St. Petersburg and an Iceland loss or draw to Croatia to advance to the knockout stage. Nigeria, which threatened late in the half, is into the round of 16 with a win.

Messi is running out of time to save Argentinas World Cup

La Albiceleste spent nearly the entire second half throwing bodies at Nigerias goal. In the 86th minute, it paid off, and will likely send Argentina on to the knockout stage of the World Cup. Gabriel Mercado took a ball wide and sent a cross into a mostly empty 18-yard box. But Marcos Rojo, a defender, was there and punched a volley with his right foot into the corner of the net.

What a ball by Banega, what a touch and finish by Messi. Argentina lead Nigeria /ONbGOjKVkg

With a reprieve, Argentina took advantage when Rojo, a Manchester United defender, struck the ball with power and purity, ensuring Messi will have at least one more match on the sports biggest stage.

The free kick from that yellow card gave Messi a shot on goal from 20 yards out. He bent a ball around Nigerias wall and hit the far post with the shot. Nigeria cleared. Still, 1-0, Argentina.

Arms outstretched, he flashed a smile of both relief and happiness while he glided to the corner, dropped to his knees and thanked the heavens.

Diego Maradona clearly feeling very chill about this whole thing

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