Nigeria v Argentina – No Messing With Super EaglesStats
Nigeria v Argentina
A point would suit both teams, but Argentina are yet to find their feet in this World Cup and could do with a good performance.
Nigeria produced a shock in Game 2 to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina and put themselves in poll position for qualification for the knockout stages. A goalless draw in their opening game followed by that 1-0 win over Bosnia means it is four point from two games, and a draw here will secure progression to the knockout stages.
Peter Odemwingie scored the decisive goal but was quick to give credit to the team’s work ethic and their defensive frugality. As one of only two teams – along with Mexico – to keep clean sheets in each of their opening games, he makes a good point. Having failed to impress against Iran in their World Cup opener, or in any of the pre-tournament friendlies, the win against Bosnia was marked improvement.
Argentina, meanwhile, are yet to get going in this World Cup, despite having six points on the board. They were lacklustre against Bosnia in their opener, aside from a moment of brilliance from Lionel Messi, and they were even worse against Iran and probably should have lost the game, before the Barcelona man saved their blushes again.
They say that the mark of a good team is finding a way to win when you’re not playing at your best, and perhaps that is something for Argentine supporters to cling to. But they’ll need to start producing the goods sooner rather than later if they’re going to justify their position at the head of the Outright Winner market.
Peter Odemwingie was a surprise inclusion in Nigeria’s starting XI against Bosnia, having been criticised by manager Stephen Keshi for the way that he played when introduced as a substitute in the previous game. After scoring the only goal of the tournament so far for the West Africans, he’s sure to have done enough to maintain his place in the side.
Gonzalo Higuain and Fernando Gago replaced Hugo Campagnaro and Maxi Rodriguez in the Argentine starting XI for the game against Iran. With qualification already secured I’d expect Alejandro Sabella to look for an attacking and morale boosting performance that can kick-start their campaign
It seems wrong that a poor Nigerian team are ahead of both of these gutsy performers in the table but that’s the perils of tournament football and fairness has little part to play. Iran will have to sacrifice their defensive solidity to have any chance of reaching the last 16 though while the Bosnians have little to lose and will be eager to prove they were worthy of better so I think the pick of the bets here is Over 2.5 goals to go in at 11/10.
Dzeko and Ashkan Dejegah are the standout punts for me in the goalscorers market at odds of evens and 9/4 respectively while the 7/5 draw no bet on Iran looks to be of some value too.
Argentina should pick up another three points here, but given the way that they’ve played in each of their opening two matches I wouldn’t be rushing to back them at odds of 8/15 here. Nigeria are out at odds of 11/2 and the draw is a 14/5 chance, but the Match Odds market is one to stay clear of.
Instead we should look to the goals markets and, in particular, the Under 2.5 goals selection at odds of 5/6.
Argentina have conceded only one goal in their last seven international fixtures, while Nigeria are yet to concede in the tournament and have kept six clean sheets in their last eight games.
The 0-0 scoreline is a 10/1 chance, while No in the Both Teams To Score market is priced at odds of 8/11.