Argentina very much alive after Nigeria’s crucial win over Iceland
Ahmed Musa has made a spectacular entrance into the World Cup by scoring twice in Nigeria’s 2-0 victory over Iceland.
Nigeria reinvigorated its World Cup campaign – and gave a boost to Argentina’s – with a 2-0 victory over Iceland in Volgograd on Friday. Ahmed Musa had both goals.
The result in Volgograd means Nigeria, Iceland and Argentina are all still in contention to advance from Group D.
Croatia leads the group after two wins and has already ensured a spot in the round of 16.
Nigeria looked sluggish in its opening loss to Croatia, and started slowly in this game too. Iceland had the better of the first half, getting six shots to Nigeria’s zero. But Nigeria stuck with its patient passing game, and it paid off in a far superior second half.
In the 49th minute, Victor Moses raced down the sideline and sent a cross into the box for Ahmed Musa. He controlled it nicely with his first touch, then used his second to slam it home.
Musa nearly got a second when his shot caromed off the top bar. Then a moment later, in the 75th minute, he latched onto a long ball, beat a defender and then the keeper, and poked the ball into an unguarded net.
Iceland had a real chance to get one back but Gylfi Sigurdsson fired a penalty kick way over the Nigeria bar in the 83rd minute.
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The result lifts Nigeria into second spot in the group with three points. Iceland and Argentina each have one point.
Argentina’s loss to Croatia put it in a hole. But plenty of teams have advanced after taking one point from their opening two games. The Argentines are still within touching distance heading into their final group game.
They’ll play Nigeria while Iceland and Croatia clash in simultaneous games on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET. Here’s what the Group D table looks like heading into those games:
Group D table
1. Croatia — 6 (+5)
2. Nigeria — 3 (0)
3. Iceland — 1 (-2)
4. Argentina — 1 (-3)
So the scenarios for Argentina are relatively simple. It must beat Nigeria. If it does, a loss or draw for Iceland against Croatia will send the Argentines through.
If Iceland beats Croatia, Group D’s runner-up spot would be decided by tiebreakers. The first is goal differential. So Argentina’s margin of victory on Tuesday would have to be at least one goal greater than Iceland’s. If goal differential is level, the second tiebreaker is goals scored.
The third tiebreak would be discipline – yellow and red card counts.