Argentina vs Nigeria summary: score, goals, highlights, U20 World Cup
Argentina 0-2 Nigeria
Nigeria stun hosts Argentina in 2-0 defeat
The expectation was not that Argentina would score, but how many times they would score. They had been so prolific up to now in this tournament, and with the home crowd in their corner, it seemed a foregone conclusion that they would have their way with Nigeria.
The problem is that nobody seemed to tell the Nigerians that was the plan.
For their part, the African nation had their own plan, and they stuck rigorously to it, denying Argentina again and again any sort of access to their goal.
As the first half ended in stalemate, the feeling was that it was only a matter of time. And as the second half got under way, that indeed was the case. But it was the Nigerians who came out the composed side.
Their quickness to get bodies back in defense all night was impressive, as well as frustrating and fatiguing for Argentina. As the frustration mounted, the Nigerians were more and more free to make their own moves forward.
The stalemate turned to true horror for Argentina in the 60th minute when an Umeh Emmanuel through ball found Ibrahim Muhammad in space. The crowd fell silent when he slotted it past Gomes Gerth into the net.
Argentina's frustration turned to desperation as chance after chance went begging, and Nigeria's hope turned to elation when Rilwanu Sarki put his head onto the end of a squared ball by Victor Eletu.
This is a stunning victory for Nigeria, Argentina, and every other team in the tournament. If they thought that Nigeria were a pushover, they had better think again. Nigeria mean business.
That is going to be it for our live coverage of the Round of 16 match between Argentina and Nigeria. Keep up to date with all of the news from the 2023 U20 World Cup and around the sporting world with Diario AS - USA.
Have a great night and see you next time!
Nigeria have pulled off the impossible and Argentina are out of the competition! The defense was impeccable and Argentina's frustration opened the door for Nigeria to attack. All other nations should be warned that the Nigerians mean business! Final score here, Argentina nil, Nigeria two.
Another chance for Argentina as Gauto puts one into the side netting. They simply can't get anything in the goal!
Valentín Gómez is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Argentina are not destined to score, as a centered pass goes across the face of goal and through no less than three sets of Argentine legs before being harmlessly cleared away.
A double change as Kehinde Ibrahim will come on for Samson Lawal and Joshua John replaces Tochukwu Nadi.
Gino Infantino is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
The Nigerians get another goal and that is the death blow for Argentina! Rilwanu Sarki gets his head on the end of a ball from squared by Victor Eletu. 2-0 Nigeria
Nigeria's defense has been superb and it has had to be. Argentina are throwing everything at them, and while the shots are not on target, the assault is unrelenting!
Romero takes a long low shot from forty yards out and somehow it is misjudged by Aniagboso and comes off the woodwork! Romero was just an inch away from an equalizer!
Juan Gauto plays a great ball through to Alejo Vélia. He has Maestro Puch in front of goal, they are two on one, all he has to do is square it, but NO! He shoots it into the side net. Well that is the summary of Argentina's night in a play. They did everything right but just can't finish.
The goal scorer Ibrahim Muhammad is off injured and Nigeria replace him with Victor Eletu.
Gino Infantino comes on to replace Valentín Carboni and Ignacio Maestro Puch comes on for Tomás Avilés.
Nigeria hardly seem troubled by everything that Argentina throws at them. A centered ball finds Carboni's head in front of goal but it is put well wide, and that will be it as a change is to be made.
Argentina have an air of desperation about them, now. They attack and get rejected, coming back again, Carboni sends one flying over the crossbar.
The Argentinians are now at full throttle, trying to turn every possession into a break. The Nigerians are so quick to get back into defense, however, that there is no daylight for Argentina to work toward.
Nigeria get the ball back and very nearly score a second! This is insane! These two teams are standing toe to toe, trading knockout blows. The game is end to end.
Argentina look to reply immediately, flying bodies into the Nigerian area, and the shot is just wide.
Umeh Emmanuel's through ball finds Ibrahim Muhammad, who silences the crowd, slotting it past Gomes Gerth!
Nigeria get a corner and play it just outside the box to Tochukwu Nadi. His shot hits the woodwork! What a lovely effort.
Rilwanu Sarki replaces Jude Sunday as Umeh Emmanuel replaces Salim Lawal.
An Argentine free kick turns into a flying attack by Nigeria. Jude Sunday takes a long range shot and Gomes Gerth is there to gather it in. Just a reminder to Argentina though that they can not take their eye off the Nigerians for one second.
Carboni goes down and is clutching his left leg. He slid for a block, missing everyone and everything but seemed to have twisted his knee in the attempt. He is up after a minute or two and limping around gingerly.
A beautiful ball through by Carboni finds Barco who puts it toward goal, forcing Aniagboso to make a great save.
Both teams are swapping possession, but while the attacking seems to favor Argentina, the defense of Nigeria is impressive and they are staying disciplined.
Nigeria now playing with purpose, passing well, moving the ball down the right wing. The long pass just beyond Sunday and it goes behind for a corner kick.
Argentina make a nice run into Nigeria's box, the through ball just a fraction long for Aguirre, who just gets a toe to it but can't do anything with it.
The second half gets underway and both sides take the field with the same personnel.
That is the whistle and these two teams have been back and forth, and the game has been end to end. Argentina have been on the front foot, but Nigeria have been doing a great job of frustrating them, and asking a few questions of them from time to time. We head into the half, still 0-0.
There are three minutes of extra time added as we reach the 45.
Federico Redondo gets shown a yellow card for a challenge on Jude Sunday. The two went up for a ball and Redondo's knee was squarely in Sunday's back. A fair card, well earned.
Another corner for Argentina and they are really punching for all they are worth. The Nigerian resistance is stubborn though and nothing gets through.
Once more on the attack, Carboni's cross is headed behind for a corner. The in-ball falls in space by Véliz who flicks it on, but straight into the hands of Aniagboso.
Argentina are pressing now, and looking much better. They seem to be in control of their passes a bit more and win another corner. A good ball in is well defended by Aniagboso.
Argentina on the attack once again and this time they manage to string together some decent passes, with the centered ball finding Véliz's head, and it flies just over the crossbar. Easily the best chance by either team so far.
The Nigerians give the ball away in midfield and the Argentinian attack is swift. They have three on two but the Nigerians are so fast getting back, they manage to get numbers back and snuff out the threat.
Argentina take the opportunity to go on the attack and pound into the Nigerian area, but a lack of finishing quality sees the ball change hands again. The Nigerians give it back and Argentina push again toward goal. Once again the shot is well defended, but it is now Nigeria on the back foot.
Nigeria now win a throw in deep in the Argentine half, and while it is dealt with, it is not cleared. Nigeria wins it back over and over again. Eventually they win the corner. The in-swinger is dealt with and Argentina finally get some respite.
Argentina win a corner and play it short. The ball is played around to the other side and Argentina win another corner. This time it is delivered to the far post for Redondo. He gets a free header but somehow shanks it. The keeper has no trouble with it at all.
Jude Sunday is fouled by Carboni and it is Nigeria's turn to take a free kick. The delivery is a good one, but the Argentine defense is up to the task.
Muhammad goes down injured and there is a delay in the game as he goes off to get medical treatment. Nigeria is temporarily at a disadvantage, so what do they do? Go on the attack of course!
The game has been end to end and Carboni goes on a wonderful run which is incredibly well defended. The block is inch-perfect and Ogwuche wins it to end the danger. Wonderful stuff!
Argentina take the ball back and go on the attack. They win a free kick in the Nigeria half and it is seen off by the wall. The ball is not cleared effectively and Argentina come again, but to no joy. Finally it falls at the feet of Carboni and he takes a shot, missing by a long way.
Nigeria take the ball up the other end and get a throw in. The long throw finds Muhammad 20 yard out and he turns and hits a beautiful strike, just missing wide by a few feet!
Argentina now press forward and Romero takes a hopeful strike, missing by a foot or two. Just high.
Nigeria now have their second corner of the match and the kick is beautiful. Argentina once again presents a solid defense and clear the ball. Nigeria did nothing wrong, but Argentina were just too good.
Now it is Argentina's turn to press forward, stringing together some lovely passing in the opposition's area before the cross by Redondo flies over everyone to once again give possession away.
Nigeria press forward and win an early corner which comes to nothing. The Argentine defense stiffens and possession is lost.
The first few minutes are a case of each team probing the midfield of the other, with miscues and passes going astray leading to possession changing back and forth. You feel that this is only a preliminary stage.
And we are off!
The two nations' teams are on the pitch and the anthems are being sung. The only voices in the stadium singing the Nigerian anthem are those of the players themselves. When the Argentine anthem plays, however, it is a different proposition as the crowd belts out the words.
The stadium is sold out and the atmosphere is one of a carnival, with the home crowd fully expecting to see a display of Argentine dominance.
It is a clear evening in San Juan, a brisk 65 degrees, perfect soccer weather.
With just around 20 minutes until kickoff, the teams are on the field and warming up. The stadium is packed and there are banners lining the stands recalling the Falkland Islands war as the country renews efforts to claim the British territiory 40 years after those dreadful events.
(GK) Gomes Gerth
Argentina topped Group A and are widely expected to follow in the senior team’s footsteps, with budding stars like Manchester City’s Máximo Perrone and Inter Milan’s Valentín Carboni stretching their legs for the first time on the international stage.
Nigeria got through Group D in third place, although they did so on the back of impressive wins over the Dominican Republic and Italy. 18-year-old midfielder Victor Eletu of Inter Milan is the backbone of the Nigerian attack and has the talent to make life uncomfortable indeed for Argentina.
These two sides have met once before, in the 2005 U20 World Cup final, when a young Lionel Messi scored the winner as Argentina won 2-1 taking their fifth title. They went on to win the tournament again in 2007 to make it an incredible six world titles, making Argentina hands down the most successful nation in the tournament’s history.
Argentina have scored ten total goals so far, with Alejo Véliz and Luka Romero combining for half that total. Only Ecuador have scored more, with 11. On the other end of the pitch, the Argentines have given up only one goal, with the only country bettering that is the USA who have a clean sheet so far.
For their part, the Nigerians have looked impressive, even perfect in the first two matches where they handily dealt with the Dominicans and Italians. But their loss to Brazil revealed them to be human after all, and Argentina’s coach Javier Mascherano feels that he has seen some flaws that can be exploited.
“They started very well with two impressive wins but in the last game they lost, we saw a thing or two tactically that we will try to take advantage of when we meet them. But we know they will fight and run with speed and skill, so we have to be ready to fight.”
Referees for tonight’s match will be from the Swedish confederation consisting of referee Glenn Nyberg and his assistants Mahbod Beigi and Andreas Söderkvist. The fourth official will be Japanese official Yusuke Araki.
Welcome to Diario AS - USA’s live commentary coverage of the 2023 U20 World Cup Round of 16 match between Argentina and Nigeria.
Kick off is at 5:00 p.m. ET from the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario in San Juan, Argentina.