2018 FIFA World Cup: 11 things you need to know before Argentina play Nigeria in do-or-die encounter
In what is a do-or-die match for Argentina, the South American giants will play Nigeria in their third group match at 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Argentines are at the bottom of the table after losing their last match against Croatia and will be looking for a win to stay alive in the tournament.
As Lionel Messi looks to save his team from their worst ever World Cup exit, here are some interesting facts you definitely need to know before you watch Argentina play Nigeria tonight.
1. Interestingly, Argentine-born, Luis Monti has played two World Cup final matches but with two different teams. He was a key player when Argentina cruised into the finals in 1930 and played an instrumental role in Italy’s dominant performance in 1934 when the Azzurris lifted the trophy.
2. Argentina’s Claudio Canniga who was a star for the team in the 1990s was left out of squad in 1998 by coach Daniel Passarella as the maverick forward refused to cut his hair. In 2002 he got a call for the national squad when Marcelo Biesela was in charge. He wasn’t given a chance to play in the whole tournament but was shown a red card for cursing the referee from the bench, the first of its kind.
3. Argentina’s Leandro Cufré is the only player who has been sent off after the final whistle has been blown. He attacked Germany’s Per Mertesacker after the South American giants lost 4-2 on penalties in the quarters in 2006. Interestingly Argentina has been guilty of being the side that been cautioned the most in the history of World Cup, 88 in 65 games. Their players have been sent off on 10 occasions and they are second on that list.
4. In 1990, Argentina scored only five goals in the whole tournament, the least by any team to reach the finals.
5. Juan Jose Tramutola, the manager of Argentina in 1930 World Cup, was and is still the youngest to achieve that feat at the age of 27 years and 267 days.
6. Argentina is amongst the shortest teams at this year’s World Cup tournament with an average height of 1.79 meters (5’10”). The shortest team is expected to reach new heights.
7. Argentina’s Diego Maradona scored six goals as a captain of the team in World Cups. If Lionel Messi could manage a hat-trick of goals when they face Nigeria in their last group stage game then the fans would be elated as he would surpass Maradona’s feat and also give them a ticket to the knockout phase.
8. Two time champion Argentina is almost on the brink of ouster from the World Cup. The fifth-ranked team has faced such humiliation only once in the past 20 years where they were knocked out in group stage in 2002.
9. Nigeria has become a regular at the competition. Since making their World Cup debut in 1994, they only missed out in 2006. Interestingly they have qualified to the knockout stages on three occasions topping the group in 1994 and 1998. Interestingly they have been drawn in the same group as Argentina in five of their last six World Cup outings.
10. Ahmed Musa became the first Nigerian to score a brace in a single World Cup match when the Super Eagles faced Argentina in 2014. The South American giants managed a narrow 3-2 victory after even Messi scoring a double.
11. After scoring a goal against Iceland in their second group stage match, Ahmed Musa became the first Nigerian to score at two consecutive World Cups. He is also Nigeria’s leading goal scorer at a World Cup finals.
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