Football

World Cup 2014: Group F Round-Up: Lionel Messi Ups the Ante as Argentina and Nigeria Contest a Five Goal Thriller in Porto Alegre

GROUP F

Argentina 3-2 Nigeria

Porto Alegre was treated to one of the World Cup’s most exciting matches yesterday in a 3-2 thriller between Group F’s top dogs, Argentina and Nigeria.

Lionel Messi doubled his World Cup tally with two brilliant goals that sandwiched Ahmed Musa’s composed curling finish.

Musa added a second to equalise for the Super Eagles after the interval but Argentine defender Marcos Rojo ensured the South Americans would take the points and importantly, top spot in Group F.

Messi’s double underlined a feeling in both Argentina and Barcelona that the four-time Ballon d’Or winner’s quiet season for the Catalans was due to Diego Maradona’s heir apparent saving himself for the World Cup.

If saving yourself still quantifies 28 goals and 11 assists from 31 club games then opposition defences are in serious trouble.

Since Messi was given the La Albiceleste captaincy he has scored 24 goals and made 10 assists in 28 international matches.

In yesterday’s match, he started the game with an emphatic follow-up effort which he rifled into the roof of the net. Before half-time he added a glorious free-kick to his World Cup’s repertoire.

In fairness to Nigeria and particularly Musa, his brace was overshadowed by Messi’s wizardry. The Africans deserve huge plaudits given the way they played against one of the World Cup’s favourites—Les Bleus beware.

Bosnia-Hercegovina 3-1 Iran

Bosnia attained a maiden World Cup win in a deserved but also frustrating win against Iran. Bosnia’s coach, Safet Susic said, “We lacked experience and cool heads at crucial moments in the opening two games but I cannot complain about effort. That’s just football”

The Bosnians were by far the better team and know only too well that a replicated performance against the Nigerians could have seen them eyeing up the French in the last-16.

Edin Dzeko and Roma’s Miralem Pjanic put the Zmajevi 2-0 up. Avdija Vrsajevic wrapped up the three points after Reza Ghoochannejad had pulled one back for Iran.

“The best team of the group did not qualify, Bosnia showed they have great players, great team with a lot of experience. Today they raised their levels and when that happened they gave us no chance.”—Iran coach Carlos Queiroz

 

FINAL GROUP F STANDINGS

Source: BBC

Source: BBC

 

SECOND ROUND FIXTURES

– France vs Nigeria—Monday 30th June (5pm GMT)

– Argentina vs Switzerland—Tuesday 1st July (5pm GMT)

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