Why Argentina are Nigeria's World Cup nemesis

12th Jun 2018

Nigeria have every right to be sick of the sight of Argentina.

The Super Eagles are set to play the two-time winners for the fifth time in just their sixth World Cup finals appearance in Russia.

Talk about familiar foes. But this is a rather one-side rivalry, as the South Americans have come out in top in every encounter so far.

It's going to be a big ask for Salisu Yusuf's side in Saint Petersburg but, as the previous encounters prove, they've haven't always been outplayed by Lionel Messi and Co.

Nigeria 1-2 Argentina (1994)

Nigeria were making their debut on the world stage in the USA and secured a surprise 3-0 victory over Bulgaria in their opening game.

Argentina thumped Greece in their first encounter but looked to be heading for a shock when Samson Siasia fired the Africans into an early lead.

However, two quick goals from Claudio Caniggia helped Diego Maradona's  side come out on top. Both sides progressed to the knock-out stages.

READ MORE: The best World Cup runs by African teams

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Nigeria 0-1 Argentina (2002)

The two teams were pitted against eachother in the Group of Death alongside England and Sweden, but things did not go well for either nation.

Gabriel Batistuta's header settled the encounter and the margin of victory could have been far greater as the Argentinians dominated proceedings.

However, the South Americans suffered a surprise defeat to England and were sent packing with four points to their name.

Nigeria finished bottom of the pile with a solitary point.

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Nigeria 0-1 Argentina (2010)

The duo, once again, faced eachother in their opening game. Nigeria had high hopes but, once again, ended up on the wrong end of a 1-0 defeat.

Gabriel Heinz's header proved to be the difference and was a killer blow for a Nigerian side containing the likes of Danny Shittu, Joseph Yobo and Yakubu Aiyegbeni.

The Super Eagles went on to lose to Greece and draw with South Korea to suffer another early exit. Argentina strolled through as group winners with three wins on the bounce.

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Nigeria 2-3 Argentina (2014)

Nigeria must have been fearing the worst when Messi fired home a third minute opener in this final Group F encounter.

However, Ahmed Musa responded immediately to set the tone for a thrilling contest.

Messi put his side in the driving seat with a sublime free-kick but that man Musa hit back just two minutes into the second half.

Marcos Rojo's bundled finish in the 50th minute proved to be the winner but both teams ended up progressing to the knock-out stages as Iran failed to beat Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Number five....

The two teams go head-to-head in Saint Petersburg on June 26 and the encounter is expected to have a huge bearing on the outcome of Group D.

Here's hoping for another cracker.

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