News, Soccer

Preview: Nigeria v Argentina Factbox

Nigeria play Argentina in a World Cup Group D match in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

Where: St Petersburg Stadium

Capacity: 68,134

When: Tuesday June 26, 2000 local

Referee: To be announced

Key stats:

* To have any hope of progressing, Argentina must beat Nigeria and also hope Iceland do not win against Croatia, as that could send them home anyway, depending on goal difference.

* Victory for Nigeria’s ‘Super Eagles’ would guarantee them progress. A draw may also be enough even if Iceland beat Croatia, depending on goal difference.

* Croatia are already through to the second round with two wins, and look sure to come first in the group unless they lose and Nigeria rack up a massive win against Argentina.

* Iceland must win to qualify, and hope that Nigeria lose or that they pip them on goal difference if the Africans draw.

* Nigeria have been paired with Argentina five times in six World Cups.

* The group runner up will face the winners of Group C, where France are currently top. The group winner will face Group C’s runner up, with Denmark currently occupying that spot.

* Lionel Messi turns 31 on Sunday and may be playing in his last World Cup. Many Argentines believe he needs to win it to equal the greatness of Diego Maradona who took the 1986 trophy.

* However, with Messi missing a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Iceland then unable to stop a 3-0 drubbing by Croatia, he has had a nightmare tournament so far.

* Nigeria are the only African team returning to the World Cup finals after playing in Brazil four years ago. They have advanced past the first round three times but never reached the last eight – the benchmark of African achievement.

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