Head-To-Head: Can Super Eagles End Argentina Jinx?
Argentina have been Nigeria’s perennial nemesis at the FIFA World Cup, but many feel the Super Eagles will ‘shake the table’ against Lionel Messi and his teammates on Tuesday in St. Petersburg.
In five previous World Cup appearances, the Eagles have had to play Argentina in the group phase on four occasions. It was only in France 1998 that both teams ended up in different sections.
Argentina have won all four, though narrowly.
Skipper Mikel John Obi, defender Kenneth Omeruo, midfielder Ogenyi Onazi and forwards Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses were in the Nigerian squad that lost 2-3 to the Argies in Porto Alegre on 25th June 2014.
But the recency factor will mean they all remember how the Eagles bashed the Argies 4-2 in a friendly on Russian soil (Krasnodar) seven months ago.
That match, on 14th November 2017, was also on a Tuesday.
That friendly encounter was the second time that Nigeria would score four goals against the Albiceleste – the first was a 4-1 reverse for the South Americans in a friendly in Abuja on the first day of June 2011.
Argentina have never scored four goals against Nigeria at senior level.
Tuesday’s encounter will be Nigeria’s 21st match at the FIFA World Cup finals, having won six and drawn three in the previous 20.
11 BIG GAMES BETWEEN NIGERIA & ARGENTINA
25 June 1994: Nigeria 1 Argentina 2 – Boston, USA (FIFA World Cup)
10 Jan 1995: Argentina 0 Nigeria 0 – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (FIFA Confederations Cup)
3 Aug 1996: Nigeria 3 Argentina 2 – Georgia, USA (Olympics Final)
2 June 2002: Argentina 1 Nigeria 0 – Ibaraki, Japan (FIFA World Cup)
2 July 2005: Nigeria 1 Argentina 2 – Utrecht, Netherlands (FIFA U20 World Cup Final)
23 Aug 2008: Argentina 1 Nigeria 0 – Beijing, China (Olympics Final)
12 June 2010: Argentina 1 Nigeria 0 – Jo’burg, South Africa (FIFA World Cup)
1 June 2011: Nigeria 4 Argentina 1 – Abuja, Nigeria (Friendly)
6 Sept 2011: Argentina 3 Nigeria 1 – Dhaka, Bangladesh (Friendly)
25 June 2014: Nigeria 2 Argentina 3 – Porto Alegre, Brazil (FIFA World Cup)
14 Nov 2017: Argentina 2 Nigeria 4 – Krasnodar, Russia (Friendly)