2014 World Cup – Group F
Argentina vs Nigeria
Estádio José Pinheiro Borba (Beira-Rio) – Porto Alegre, Brazil
Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN, Univision
Money Line: Argentina -205 / Nigeria +800 / Draw +290
Point Line: Argentina -1 -116 / Nigeria +1 -104
Total: over 2.5 -115 / under 2.5 -105
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
Argentina and Nigeria meet Wednesday in Porto Alegre with group F on the line. Argentina leads the group with 6 points with victories over Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 and Iran 1-0 last Saturday in Belo Horizonte. Nigeria has 4 points with a scoreless draw against Iran and a 1-0 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina Saturday in Cuiaba.
Argentina will clinch first place in the group with a win or a draw. Argentina has clinched a spot in the round of 16 already Nigeria will clinch first place with a win. Nigeria clinches second place in the group with either a draw, an Iran-Bosnia and Herzegovina draw or a Bosnia win. Iran can pass Nigeria with a win against Bosnia, coupled with a loss by Nigeria. Iran is -1 in goals and Nigeria is +1. The winner of group F will likely face either Ecuador or Switzerland in the round of 16. The runner up in group F will likely face France unless France loses by 6 goals or more to Ecuador.
Argentina leads the series against Nigeria 4-1-1. This is the fourth time since 1994 that these two teams have been in the same group at the World Cup, including in 2010. Argentina has won all three previous World Cup meetings by a combined 4-1 score, including 1-0 wins in 2002 and 2010.
Argentina dominated possession against Iran, but they were unable to break through and score. They peppered the net with shots, but the match remained scoreless. It looked like Argentina would have to settle for a bitterly disappointing scoreless draw in a game they were favored by 2.5 goals. Then in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the match, talented striker Lionel Messi scored to save the day for Argentina. Argentina escaped with the 1-0 win to secure a place in the knockout stage.
Argentina had 19 shots with 9 on goal. Iran had 8 and 4. Iran had 14 fouls to 8 for Argentina. Argentina had possession for 70% of the time. Argentina had 10 corners to 6 for Iran. Iran was called for the only offside in the match.
Midway through the first half Bosnia-Herzegovina appeared to score first against Nigeria but the refs called offiside and disallowed the goal. Replays clearly showed forward Edin Dzeko was onside before scoring. Nigeria would score at 29 minutes on a goal from Peter Odemwingie. That would end up being the final score. Nigeria won a World Cup group game for the first time in 10 games. The loss eliminated Bosnia-Herzegovina in their first ever World Cup appearance.
Nigeria had 20 shots including 13 on goal. Bosnia had 18 and 10. Nigeria had 9 fouls to 7 for Bosnia. Bosnia had possession for 54% of the time. Each team had 4 corners. Nigeria was called for offside 3 times to 2 for Bosnia.
Argentina is coached by Alejandro Sabella. Argentina will likely use the same starting 11 that beat Iran. Defender Marcos Rojo could be rested because he has a yellow card already and risks suspension with another one. Messi is arguably the best player in the world. Keeper Sergio Romero has allowed one goal in the tournament.
Nigeria is coached by Stephen Keshi. Nigeria will use a 4-2-3-1 formation. Godfrey Oboabona missed the game against Bosnia-Herzegovina with an ankle injury and is listed as questionable against Argentina. Nigeria will ikely use the same starting line-up against Argentina that they used in the win against Bosnia. Keeper Vincent Enyeama has not allowed a goal in the World Cup thus far.
Argentina has escaped with two shaky wins so far. They need to play a lot better once the knockout round begins, or they will go home. Argentina should beat Nigeria in a low scoring game like 1-0.
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