World Cup 2018

Messi gives Argentina hope, Moses takes it away, Rojo does it

Messi gives Argentina hope, Moses takes it away, Rojo does it

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA

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Cometh the hour, cometh the GOAT. It was a must-win game for the Albiceleste in Saint Petersburg and it didn't take long for their number 10 to step up. Then what...?

The pressure was on and Argentina knew that only a win would do against Nigeria in their third game in Group D to have any chance of qualifying for the knockout phase. And when they needed their talisman to stand up, he did.

World Cup - Group D - Nigeria vs ArgentinaSoccer Football - World Cup - Group D - Nigeria vs Argentina - Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia - June 26, 2018 Argentina's Lionel Messi scores their first goal REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Messi-ah potential

Manager Jorge Sampaoli had made several changes to a side that has struggled to convince anyone of their credentials as a force in world football. This, in spite of a forward line that most countries could only dream of, had them going into the final group match with a single point after a draw with Iceland and defeat to Croatia.

It took just 13 minutes for newly introduced Éver Banega - a player many have been calling out for - to set Lionel Messi scampering away behind the Nigeria defence (including delicious control on the run) before lashing home a sweet right footed effort into the far corner.

Nigeria turn it around

On the 50th minute, Argentina's hopes of holding onto their precious lead were put on hold, at least. Mascherano had his arms around Leon Balogun who took advantage, rolled the former Barça man and went down. The ref pointed to the spot and Moses calmly converted.

That goal puts the Super Eagles into the next phase...if nothing changes.

Rojo saves the Albiceleste

With just a few minutes remaining, the defender pops up to clinch the game for Sampaoli's men and with Croatia winning against Iceland, it's the South Americans that go through.

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