Nigeria Vs Argentina: History Of Long-drawn W/Cup Rivalry

Nigeria - Argentina: A History Of Long-Drawn World Cup Rivalry

Lionel Messi curving a free-kick during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Image: Youtube

The Super Eagles will today be playing Argentina for the fifth time in six appearances at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

Both teams were drawn in Group D of the soccer fiesta that will begin in June 2018.

Since making their debut in 1994, the three-time African champions have met the South Americans in all but once at the group stage of the World Cup.

Overall, the teams have met eight times at the senior level and the odds favour Lionel Messi’s side. They have won five, lost two and drawn 1.

However, Nigeria mauled the South Americans 4-2 in recent international friendly match in Russia.

With all these in the background, let’s quickly take a historical ride on the rivalry between both sides at the World Cup:

USA 1994 (2-1)

Nigeria - Argentina: A History Of Long-Drawn World Cup Rivalry


Coming as African champions, the Super Eagles took on the La Albiceleste at the Boston Foxboro Stadium on 25 June, 1994.

They were in Group D with Greece and Bulgaria.

Samson Siasia gave the Eagles the lead in the 8th minute of the game.

However, Claudio Caniggia’s brace in the 21st and 28th minutes condemned the Eagles to their first World Cup defeat.

Nigeria still made it to out of the group having spanked Bulgaria 3-0 in the first game and then bashed Greece 2-0 in the last match.

They lost went on to lose 1-2 to eventual finalist Italy in the second round.

Korea/Japan 2002 (1-0)

Nigeria - Argentina: A History Of Long-Drawn World Cup Rivalry


After reshuffling the team following a failed attempt at winning the African Cup of Nations in 2002, Nigeria were again paired in Group F alongside Argentina, as well as Sweden and England.

In the opening game, Gabriel Batistuta’s 63rd minute goal gave the two-time world champions the win.

Nigeria later lost their second game 2-1 to Sweden before playing a goalless draw with the Three Lions of England.

However, the South Americans did not make it past the group stage as they ended with 4 points.

South Africa 2010 (1-0)

Nigeria - Argentina: A History Of Long-Drawn World Cup Rivalry


Lars Largerback took the team to the first World Cup on African soil.  They were again housed in Group B with Argentina.

Other teams in the group were South Korea and Greece.

The Eagles lost the match 1-0 courtesy of Gabriel Heinze’s 6th minute header. They failed to make it to the second round having lost to Greece and played a 2-2 draw with South Korea.

On the other hand, the South Americans got to the quarter-finals before Germany mauled them 4-0.

Brazil 2014 (3-2)

Nigeria - Argentina: A History Of Long-Drawn World Cup Rivalry

Image: Youtube

Going into the competition as reigning African kings, Nigeria were once again placed in the same group with Argentina.

The group also had debutants Bosnia Herzegovina and Iran.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi gave Argentina the led in the 3rd minute before Ahmed Musa equalised a minute later.

Messi struck again just before the end of the first half with Musa leveling the scoreline in the 47th minute.

Marcos Rojo then finished off the match for the South Americans in the 50th minute.

Argentina then lost narrowly, 1-0 to Europeans, Germany in the final on South American soil.

Russia 2018?

Nigeria - Argentina: A History Of Long-Drawn World Cup Rivalry


So, as the clock ticks faster for the 7pm football showpiece between these two great footballing sides in Vladimir Putin’s country later today, one can’t help but wonder if the Super Eagles can summon enough willpower to get their long-awaited revenge over the lack-lustre Argentines.

Coach Rohr has promised Nigerians revenge, whether this promise can be translated into reality by his players after 90 minutes is, however, yet to be seen.

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Egobiambu Emmanuel is a Mass Communication graduate from the University of Benin. He is a media enthusiast, loves reading and writing, and has a special interest in personal development. Emmanuel is a reporter with Concise News.

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