Nigeria draw Argentina in World Cup group for fifth time

By George Akpayen

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Photo: BeIN Sports
Photo: BeIN Sports

Nigeria’s Super Eagles have once again been placed in same FIFA World Cup group with former world champions Argentina after four previous meetings at the group stages.

The draw held at the State Kremlin Palace on Friday, put the West Africans in quite a tricky group alongside Argentina, Iceland and Croatia.

At their first appearance at the World Cup in 1994, Nigeria were drawn in same group with Argentina, Greece and Bulgaria.

In 2002, the Super Eagles again faced Argentina alongside England and Sweden in a tough group in Korea and Japan.

Eight years later in a first World Cup edition held in Africa and hosted by South Africa, Argentina once more were pitched in same group with Nigeria. Greece and South Korea were the other nations in that group.

Nigeria at the last edition of the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, played against Argentina, Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina at the group stage.

The only time Nigeria have avoided being drawn in same group with Argentina was in 1998 when they faced Spain, Bulgaria and Paraguay in France.

This will be the fifth time, Nigeria will face Argentina at the group stage and the Super Eagles have never beaten Argentina’s White and Sky Blue (La Albiceleste) in all four previous World Cup meetings in 1994, 2002, 2010 and 2014.

The Nigerians last month surprised their South American opponents in an international friendly in Krasnodar when they battled from two goals to win 4-2 though without Lionel Messi in the Argentina team.

But Nigeria will also have to be wary of first-timers Iceland and Croatia who have some of football’s big names in Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic.

Nigeria’s group games

16 June, 2018: v Croatia (Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad)

21 June, 2018: v Iceland (Volgograd Arena, Volgograd)

26 June, 2018: v Argentina (Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg)

© The Predictor

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