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Nigeria vs. Argentina; Iceland vs. Croatia; live blog: Rojo wins it for the Albiceleste

Final matchday in Group D

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Nigeria v Argentina: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images


90+4min: Nigeria can’t find a second equalizer and thus Argentina move on. 2-1 final in both games. Croatia win the group.

90min: Mikel gets a yellow for some reason. 4 minutes added on. Croatia beating Iceland 2-1.

87min: Argentina pressure pays off. Rojo, unmarked in the area, blasts in the winning volley.

85min: Moses with a huge tackle after losing Meza on the run. Argentina bay for a penalty but looked clean if awkward.

84min: Etebo rattles the sidenetting from a free kick. Half the stadium thought it was in.

83min: Huge save by Armani from Ighalo to keep Argentina’s hopes alive.

79min: Scramble at the top of the box results in a Tagliafico shot well wide. He’s subbed off for Aguero. Higuain then blasts well high.

77min: VAR says no handball. Mikel can’t believe it. Nigeria should have about 3 penalty kicks (1 did get called). The other game is 1-1 but right now that doesn’t really matter.

75min: Omeruo almost gets into trouble waiting for his goalkeeper to collect. He doesn’t, and Omeruo eventually clears for a corner. Nigeria launch a counter, but Musa’s cross is partially blocked. Question of handball on the failed clearing header, which Ighalo then blasts wide. We go to VAR...

71min: Mikel & Musa run a slow counter, the ball finds Ndidi, whose rasping shot is just over. Di Maria makes way for Meza.

70min: All Argentina possession as Nigeria defend with 11. Going to be a long 20 minutes.

64min: Banega in the books for an ankle-breaker. Pavon looking dangerous.

61min: Argentina add to the attack, Pavon comes on for Perez.

59min: Musa makes mincemeat of Mascherano, who’s on a yellow, but Argentina clear the cutback.

55min: Ighalo gets a knock in the head. Things are getting physical. Meanwhile, Croatia take the lead against Iceland, who are just about down and out at this point.

53min: Another close call for Argentina as they just get away with a tackle in the area. The subsequent corner is cleared even as Ekong goes flying.

50min: But wait! Mascherano gives away a penalty and VICTOR MOSES equalizes! Cool as you like. As things stand, Argentina are going home!

46min: Maradona did a thing in the stands, so that’s taking the headlines rather than the latest missed call/VAR questions from the Rojo incident. Second-half begins. Ighalo replaces Iheanacho, who was rather poor.

HALF-TIMES: Argentina lead 1-0 on Messi’s goal and Rojo’s no-call. The other match is tied 0-0. Argentina would thus advance in second place, behind Croatia.

45min: Rojo kicks Iheanacho in the face in the penalty area. No call. WTF?

41min: Armani out quickly to clear the ball ahead of an onrushing Musa. Iheanacho’s throughball just a bit too long. Etebo with a terrible follow-up shot from the throw-in.

36min: Etebo wins a free kick, in comes the long ball and Nigeria win the header but it’s easily saved. Still 0-0 in the other game.

33min: Messi hits the post from the free kick!

32min: Banega’s turn to provide a fantastic throughball, for Di Maria, who gets his legs tangled with Ekong. Free kick just outside the area for Argentina; yellow for Ekong.

27min: Messi’s tremendous throughball finds Higuain, but the goalkeeper is quickly out of smother the ball. He gets a kick to head for his troubles and stays down for treatment. Seems okay to continue.

22min: Ekong trundles forward, but his promising 1-2 with Moses breaks down.

20min: Argentina remain in control. As things stand, they finish second in the group. The other game, between Iceland and Croatia, is 0-0 and does not factor into things at the moment.

14min: And Messi finally scores his first goal at the World Cup, on his 13th shot. A nice run off the back of Omeruo, a good pass and a great finish. 1-0.

12min: Iheanacho passes up a wide open Moses on the right and loses the ball. A minute later, he dallies on the ball again and wastes another chance.

9min: Musa answers with Nigeria’s first shot. Also well wide. Messi attacks at the other end, Ekong defends well.

8min: Tagliafico gets the game’s first shot. Well wide. Argentina looking motivated.

1min: Nigeria kick-off. Here we go!

Denmark and France advanced earlier today.

Croatia are already through in Group D. Argentina need to beat Nigeria and hope that Iceland don’t beat Croatia. Iceland also need Nigeria to not win while winning themselves. And Nigeria control their own destiny.

This could get dramatic.


Nigeria starting lineup (3-5-2):
Uzoho | Omeruo, Troost-Ekong, Balogun | Idowu, Etebo, Mikel, Ndidi, Moses | Iheanacho, Musa

Argentina starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Armani | Tagliafico, Rojo, Otamendi, Mercado | Banega, Mascherano | Di Maria, Messi, Perez | Higuain

Date / Time: Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 19:00 BST; 2pm EDT
Venue: Zenit Arena, St. Petersburg
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (Turkey)
On TV: BBC One (UK); FOX, Telemundo (USA); elsewhere
Streaming online: BBC iPlayer (UK); FOX Sports Go, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo; Sling World Cup (USA)


Iceland starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Halldorsson | Magnusson, Ingason, R.Sigurdsson, Saevarsson | Gunnarsson, Hallfredsson | Bjarnason, G.Sigurdsson, Gudmundsson | Finnbogasson

Croatia starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Kalinic | Pivanic, Caleta-Car, Corluka, Jedvaj | Modric, Badelj | Perisic, Kovacic, Pjaca | Kramaric

Date / Time: Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 19:00 BST; 2pm EDT
Venue: Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain)
On TV: BBC Four (UK); Fox Sports 1, Telemundo (USA); elsewhere
Streaming online: BBC iPlayer (UK); FOX Sports Go, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo; Sling World Cup (USA)

P.S.: Here’s who I’m rooting for. Super Eagles!

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