Argentina are playing their last group match against Nigeria, who are hoping to qualify to the last 16.
Well, Italy are out, after suffering a defeat from Uruguay. And Luis Suarez has bitten again, causing FIFA to open a disciplinary investigation against Liverpool striker and some lucky punter to win big guessing Suarez will do it again. England failed to impress again, managing only a goalless draw against Costa Rica, which guaranteed the latter top spot in the group.
Elsewhere Colombia are going to the knockouts from top spot after crushing Japan, and Ivory Coast missed out in the added time, after Greece scored a doubtful penalty and went through to the last 16 ahead of the Elephants. Uruguay are now facing Colombia in the knockouts, and Greece will play Costa Rica.
Tonight, it’s a whole different story with Argentina and France both in action, looking to confirm why they are among the favorites to win the World Cup at online sportsbooks in Argentina with 5.00 odds. France have already guaranteed themselves a top spot in the group, while Argentina needs a small final step in that direction.
Group F standings
Thanks to a very late goal from Lionel Messi against Iran, Argentina have guaranteed themselves a place in the last 16. But tonight they take on Nigeria, where the Albiceleste will be playing to secure the top spot in Group F, which will allow them to avoid France in the first round of the knockouts. Argentina need at least a draw to guarantee the first place, and make punters betting under Argentinean gambling laws happy.
Nigeria, however, will be fighting hard in order to grab the second qualifying spot. A draw or a win against Argentina will guarantee progression for the African champions. But if they lose they will be checking the result of the Bosnia & Herzegovina v Iran match, where Iran need to lose points in order to allow Nigeria to progress into the last 16. Interestingly enough, since Nigeria’s debut at the World Cups back in 1994, they have been drawn into the same group as Argentina on four occasions including this one.
Nigeria are taking on Argentina hoping to secure their last 16 spot
• Online sportsbooks in Argentina favor the Albiceleste to win
• Both teams will be content with a draw
• Lionel Messi is still looking to pick up the pace in the Golden Boot race
Argentina won two out of two and will be certainly looking to continue their winning streak. However, Alejandro Sabella’s men were less than convincing in their two previous games. The Albiceleste relied heavily on their captain Lionel Messi to pull them through both times.
Incidentally, this explains why Messi is one of the favorites to win the Golden Boot. However, his odds are much longer than before the start of the tournament: 7.00 at Bovada, because he hasn’t scored that many goals just yet.
Alejandro Sabella is currently under heavy criticism from both players and football experts for employing not the right strategy. But after he shifted from 3-5-2 against Bosnia & Herzegovina to 4-3-3 against Iran, things started to improve. However, they still needed a very late, but beautiful, goal from Messi to win.
As for Nigeria, any result tonight can potentially allow them to qualify, automatically in case of a win or a draw, and even if they lose and Iran doesn’t win, they still get to be in the last 16. There some injury concerns for Stephen Keshi, Victor Moses is not certain to participate, which will be a rather big blow for the Super Eagles. Regardless of that, the manager is confident his men can put in a decent performance and qualify for the knockouts for the first time since 1998.
Comments from the managers
Nigeria coach, Stephen Keshi, had the following words about the upcoming match: “We need to work hard for the game against Argentina. Everybody is happy in West Africa; Ghana got their result and we won. It’s good for the continent. The fighting spirit we showed was good. I never thought that we wouldn’t make it to the Round of 16 because I have the players.”
While Alejandro Sabella shared the following: “We have a few causes for concern. We don’t have any problem. It didn’t bother me at all. The atmosphere in the group is perfect. If you’re not self-critical they say you are stubborn and if you are self-critical they say you are weak, I can’t think about the outside when I make decisions. I think about the group that I command.”
Betting on the game and the teams’ form
The Albiceleste are on excellent form when it comes to statistics, their last five performances are: D W W W W including the 1-0 win over Iran. Nigeria are certainly less impressive with D D L D W counting their last 1-0 success against Bosnia & Herzegovina.
There are no injured players on the Argentinean squad and Alejandro Sabella also doesn’t have to concern himself with suspensions. He will have the full roster to choose from and the line-up is expected to consist of: Romero, Zabaleta, Rojo, Fernandez, Garay, Gago, Di Maria, Mascherano, Palacio, Messi, and Aguero.
Nigeria also have no suspended players, but there are some doubts about injuries: Reuben Gabriel, Victor Moses, and Godfrey Oboabona are not 100% certain to participate in the upcoming match. Their probable line-up is: Enyeama, Omeruo, Yobo, Mikel, Oshaniwa, Onazi, Emenike, Ambrose, Babatunde, Odemwingie, and Musa.
The Albiceleste are of course the favorites to win tonight’s game with those who bet on sports in Argentina. Alejandro Sabella’s men were given short 1.50 odds, while Nigeria’s chances are valued with a line of 9.00 and 4.00 odds are given for a possibility of a draw.
Everyone expects Argentina and especially Messi to score a lot of goals: 1-0 and 2-0 wins pay at 6.50, while 3-0 success brings a 9.50 payout, and 4-0 crashing of Nigeria will pay at 19.00. However, should the Super Eagles win with 1-0, punters can collect winnings at 19.00. 1-1 draw is also possible and will bring a 7.50 payout.