WORLD CUP: Nigeria go down fighting as they exit Russia

World Cup

African representatives Nigeria were on Tuesday evening only four minutes away from qualifying to the next stage of World Cup in Russia but a late Marcos Rojo winner shattered this dream.

Coming into the last Group D game, the Super Eagles needed only one point from their game against two time champions Argentina and also pray that Iceland is defeated by Croatia in the other game.

Despite a poor start to their game after conceding a 14th minute brilliant goal from Barcelona star Lionel Messi, Nigeria improved their performance in the second half of the game.

Victor Moses restored parity with a 51st minute penalty after Javier Mascherano error in the 18 yard box.

Meanwhile, the South Americans continued to exhibit a lacklustre performance and on a number of occasions their defence was exposed by Nigerian attacks only for chances to be missed.

The Argentines looked clueless and by the look of things, they were on the verge of an embarrassing exit from the world’s most coveted football tournament until Manchester United defender Rojo saved them.

In the 86th minute Gabriel Mercado crossed the ball from the right hand flank, only to be well received by Rojo for a volley that went straight into the goal to send Argentina into the last sixteen.

The goal was a relief to both the coach Jorge Sampaoli and Lionel Messi who have been under fire having limped through the group stages  after drawing with Iceland and losing thoroughly to Croatia.

The players were seen running to the pitch after the final whistle as a sign of excitement and happiness following the qualification.

Argentina will now play France in the round of 16.

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