Argentina

Nigeria 2-3 Argentina: Messi provides magic as Argentina march on

Two goals from Lionel Messi sent Argentina through from Group F as winners while opponents Nigeria will join them in the next round.

Messi’s second, his 24th goal in his last 23 games for his country, was a sublime swerving free-kick in first half stoppage time that left Vincent Enyeama with no chance. The Lille Goalkeeper just left to admire it like the rest of us.

Argentina’s star opened the scoring after just three minutes when he smashed home Angel di Maria’s rebounded effort following an ingenious through ball by Javier Mascherano.

The winner came from a more unlikely source though when Marcos Rojo bundled in a corner off his knee, not knowing much about it, but they all count.

Man of the match Messi was substituted in the second half as a precaution for the latter stages of his tournament, his two goals being a nice belated present for the man who turned 27 yesterday.

Ahmed Musa had an equally impressive game for the Super Eagles with a brace of his own.

His first, a curled effort from a relatively tight angle on the left hand side of the box that was beyond Sergio Romero and nestled in the corner for 1-1, seconds after Messi’s opener.

Musa tied the scoring again in the second half, again shortly after Messi had given Argentina the lead, two minutes after this time. Musa muscled his way through several challenges before cooly finishing past Romero for 2-2.

It was La Albiceleste who picked up the three points though but Nigeria are also through to the last 16 as Bosnia defeated Iran 3-1 in Salvador.

Sergio Aguero limped off in the opening period however and Argentina will be hoping his tournament is not over.

 

Argentina 2-1 Bosnia & Herzegovina

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A magical moment from Lionel Messi was the high point of an otherwise average encounter that saw Argentina run out 2-1 winners in Bosnia & Herzegovina’s maiden World Cup match.

The game itself was not as exciting as many had expected but the 65th minute saw the moment the footballing world had been waiting for. Lionel Messi picked up the ball twenty yards from goal and jinked past several defenders and then delicately curled the ball out of the reach of despairing Asmir Begovic.

It was a goal worthy of gracing the stage that is the Maracana, made even sweeter by the fact that Messi had been largely uninspiring before his moment.

Bosnia’s first World Cup could not have got off to a worst start though. After just three minutes Messi’s free-kick was inadvertently turned in by Sead Kolasinac as he tried to clear but the ball deflected off the wrong part of his leg and into the net.

In a half with very little goalmouth action, Javier Mascherano came closest for Argentina with a speculative shot that Begovic dealt with easily.

Senad Lulic provided Bosnia’s best chance when his powerful header from Martin Pjanic’s corner was saved well by Sergio Romero.

Izet Hajrovic did his level best to equalize at 1-1 for the Bosnians but he could only shoot straight at Romero twice, first from a free-kick and then from twenty yards out.

They did however score their first ever World Cup goal when Lulic played an itelligent pass to Vedad Ibisevic who nutmegged Romero to claim the historic honour with five minutes to play.

The Golden Lillies just couldn’t find a leveler though and Argentina held on to claim their first three points.