The Super Eagles will have to step up to the plate today against a star studded La Albiceleste side when the two clash at the St Petersburg Stadium for a spot in the second round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Nigeria is currently placed second in Group D with 3 point behind the Croatia who have already booked a place in the next round while the Argentines are hoping to salvage a battered image which has seen the team struggled with only a point to show for the quality of personnel in their cast.
A win is the only life line required for the two time champions to progress as anything short of that means Lionel Messi ‘s dream of a place in the pantheon of football gods to have the world football diadem in their cabinet will be shattered.
At the Super Eagles last training match on Monday, captain John Obi Mikel trained with the team despite his fractured hand which has been medically certified fit for the game while he is expected to play with a protection today though, if the referee allows it.
Coach Gernot Rohr who spoke to the media during a pre match conference has doused concerns over the fitness of his two senior players Victor Moses and John Mikel Obi “Victor Moses is in very good shape and working hard in training. Now he plays the same position he plays at Chelsea. Both him and John Obi Mikel are doing a lot of defensive and dirty work. They do it for their team and their country. This just shows how committed they are.”
On his part Russian born Bryan Idowu who is at home in St Petersburg told journalists who wanted to know he plans to keep Lionel Messi who is likely to retire after the tournament at bay, he said : “As much as we love to watch Messi play we want to win. And we have to keep in mind that Argentina is not just Messi. They have a great team.”
Gernot Rohr’s counterpart on the Argentina bench Jorge Sampaoli has been under fire for his team’s performance so far, but he believes they can turn thing around with the game against Nigeria
“We have to play the game with a lot of heart, and a lot of mental strength, to make things safe for us. Argentina’s World Cup starts tomorrow(Tuesday).” He said.
The game will kick off by 8pm CAT at the St Petersburg Stadium