Monday 25 June 2018, 09:21

Nigeria-Argentina: A rivalry resumed

  • Nigeria and Argentina meet for fifth time at the World Cup

  • Clash is crucial for both sides as they fight to reach last 16

  • looks back at the teams' previous World Cup meetings

Would it be a FIFA World Cup™ for Nigeria if they didn’t meet Argentina? Russia 2018 marks the Super Eagles’ sixth global finals appearance and they are preparing for their fifth meeting with La Albiceleste at the tournament.

With Croatia having already qualified from Group D, Nigeria and Argentina lock horns once again, this time at Saint Petersburg Stadium, with ambitions of reaching the knockout stages of Russia 2018. Ahead of the crunch clash, dips into the archives to look at the sides’ previous meetings at the World Cup – from their maiden meeting at USA 1994 to their most recent rendezvous at Brazil 2014.

Argentina 2-1 Nigeria

USA 1994

Foxboro Stadium, Boston

Flair, style and power; Nigeria captured the imagination of fans around the globe with their exciting brand of football when making their World Cup debut at USA 1994. When they recorded a 3-0 victory over Bulgaria in their opener, while Argentina put four past Greece, fireworks were expected when the two sides met in Boston. Samson Siasia put the Super Eagles in front but a first-half brace from Claudio Caniggia sealed an Albiceleste comeback. Both nations would bow out at the Round of 16 stage.

Argentina 1-0 Nigeria

Korea/Japan 2002

Kashima Stadium, Ibaraki

They may have missed each other at France 1998 but Argentina and Nigeria were reacquainted at Korea/Japan 2002, the first global finals to be held in Asia. In Group F’s opener, a second-half header from Gabriel Batistuta proved the difference. It was to be La Albiceleste’s only win at the tournament, while Nigeria failed to record a victory, as both nations failed to progress to the knockout stages.

Argentina 1-0 Nigeria

South Africa 2010

Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg

Blessed with a formidable attack of Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain and Lionel Messi, it was an unlikely hero who bagged Argentina’s solitary goal in this encounter. Defender Gabriel Heinze gave his side the perfect start on six minutes with a flying header, consigning Nigeria to defeat in their first World Cup match since 2002. Led by head coach Diego Maradona - a veteran of the first World Cup meeting between the two sides - La Albiceleste would eventually reach the quarter-final stage, while Nigeria headed for home after the group stages.

Nigeria 2-3 Argentina

Brazil 2014

Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre

Argentina clinched Group F’s top spot while Nigeria claimed second in this memorable Brazil 2014 encounter. Lionel Messi, the eventual adidas Golden Ball winner, and Ahmed Musa both bagged braces before Marcos Rojo snatched the winner for the South Americans, maintaining Argentina’s perfect record against the Super Eagles at the global finals - all by a one-goal margin. Will Argentina make it five wins out of five against Nigeria on Tuesday? Or will the Super Eagles finally end their World Cup hoodoo against La Albiceleste?