Argentina and Nigeria will be battling it out for a last-16 spot of Group D in the World Cup at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg.
Argentina are currently enduring their longest winless run in a first-round World Cup group stage in history. Nigeria, on the other hand, has an advantage over Argentina in terms of points but has lacked consistently so far in the Group Stage. Nigeria are second in their group and could qualify should they beat Argentina. The South American side, however, still have a final shot at making it to the last 16 if they are to beat Nigeria, and if Croatia managed to avoid defeat to Iceland.
The match is scheduled to start at 12:00 am in Bangladesh time. Let’s look at some of the statistics ahead of the thrilling encounter.
- In each of the last four World Cups Nigeria have qualified for (2002, 2010, 2014 and 2018) they have been drawn in the same group as Argentina. They were also in the same group in 1994.
- The Super Eagles have lost all four of their previous World Cup games against Argentina, with all of those defeats by single-goal margins (1-0 in 2002 and 2010, 2-1 in 1994, 3-2 in 2014).
- The Nigerians lost a group game to Paraguay at the 1998 tournament, so have been defeated in all five of their World Cup matches versus South American opposition.
- Nigeria's six World Cup wins have all come against European sides - they have never beaten opposition from another continent.
- The only previous time the Super Eagles won back-to-back World Cup games was in 1998, when they defeated Spain and Bulgaria in their first two matches.
- Victory would ensure Nigeria reach the knock-out stage for a second successive World Cup, and for the fourth time in six appearances overall.
- Ahmed Musa is Nigeria's all-time top scorer at the World Cup with four goals - two against Iceland at this tournament, and two versus Argentina in 2014.
- The only previous time Argentina have failed to win a game at a World Cup was in 1934, when the tournament was a straight knock-out. They selected an inexperienced, amateur squad, and lost 3-2 to Sweden in the first round.
- They have never completed a first round group stage at a World Cup without at least one win.
- The Argentines are enduring their longest winless run in World Cup history (D2, L2), although that four-match streak includes the 2014 semi-final against the Dutch, which they won on penalties.
- They last lost back-to-back World Cup games in 1994 (against Bulgaria and Romania). They have never lost consecutive games in the opening group stage.
- Lionel Messi has failed to score with his last 22 shots in matches at World Cup finals.
- But over the last two years he has scored 14 goals in 18 games for Argentina.