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World Cup: Nigeria v Argentina
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Nigeria Screenshot 2014-05-28 08.08.34

• A draw would ensure they progress, though they could even lose the game and finish second in the group. • Showed a huge improvement in quality and desire in their attacking play against Bosnia.
• Excellent mood in the squad after their last match and motivation is high.

Unavailable

None

Doubtful

Babatunde – LM/AM – 70% Oboabona – CB – 30% Moses – RW/LW – 30%

Returning

None

Expected Team (4-2-3-1)

Screenshot 2014-06-25 13.11.41

Team News

No confirmed absentees have been reported at this stage following their win against Bosnia and due to the performance it would be no surprise if they stuck with the same starting XI fitness permitting.

Joseph Yobo came in for injured centre back Godfrey Oboabona and put his experience to good use. There is a chance if Oboabona is fit enough he may have a chance of starting though this will also depend on how they feel the aging legs of Yobo would stand up to another game in quick succession.

Other changes were Odemwingie and Babatunde replacing Azeez and Moses, these change proved pivotal as both players who came into the team played a big part for Nigeria. Babatunde proved his worth, showing excellent work rate, he used the ball well and made some effective tackles before being replaced as he tired and then picked up a knock in the second half. His fitness is unknown at the moment but there are no reports on him not being available.

Odemwingie playing wide on the right made effective contributions with and without the ball and capped his performance with the winning goal.
Victor Moses picked up a small injury in training though it was thought he wouldn’t have started anyway. If Moses is fit he may have to make do with a place on the bench.

Bench (from): Agbim GK, Ejide GK, Egwuekwe CB, Kunle CB, Oboabona CB, Gabriel CM, Azeez CM, Moses RW/LW, Uzoenyi LW, Ameobi ST, Nwofor ST, Uchebo ST

Tactical Keys to the Game:

  •   Changes to personnel, an improved performance in playing to their strengths and facing a defence who struggled against pace were all factors in the win against Bosnia. The pace and power of Emenike running into the right channel was often too much for Bosnia to handle, though they did expend a lot of energy which may be a negative with a quick turnaround between games.
  •   It was evident on how much more effective Nigeria can be when given some space in which to break which they were denied in the opening game. There is no reason for Argentina to play a defensive game, which may suit Nigeria, although Nigeria will have to be wary of leaving spaces for Argentina to expose themselves.Motivational Keys to the Game:

 The win against Bosnia showed excellent team play and work rate from Nigeria which was a huge positive following the disappointment of the opening game.

 

 

 

Argentina Screenshot 2014-05-28 07.25.37

• Already qualified despite two lacklustre performances.
• Could become complacent as they only need a draw to win the group. • Could possibly rotate and rest some of the more high profile players.

Unavailable

None

Doubtful

None

Returning

None

Expected Team (4-3-1-2)

Screenshot 2014-06-25 13.13.13

Team News

Argentina picked up no new injury worries after the battling victory over Iran that secured their passage to the 2nd round.

Despite picking up two wins from two games, Argentina have been far from their best and in truth were fortunate to beat Iran, needing an injury time strike from Lionel Messi to secure the three points.

Alex Sabella changed to a 4-3-3 to start against Iran, bringing in Higuaín and Gago and while he is likely to stick to this formation he may make changes to keep the team fresh and avoid any potential injuries or suspensions for the 2nd round.

Higuaín and Aguero were withdrawn 15 minutes from time to be replaced by Lavezzi and Palacio but Argentina should stick to their first choice front two to try and get them some goals and confidence.

Maxi Rodriguez could earn a recall to allow Gago a rest and Biglia has come off the bench twice to shore the game up. He could be an option if Mascherano is rested.

Rojo is the only Argentine player who has a yellow card to his name but it is unlikely that he will drop out of the team. If he does they do not have a natural replacement on that side, with Basanta or Garay options to cover.

Bench (from): Andújar GK, Orion GK, Basanta CB, Campagnaro CB, Demichelis CB, Biglia DM, Rodriguez RM/AM, Perez CM, A. Fernandez RW, Alvarez AM, Lavezzi LW/ST, Palacio ST/LW

Tactical Keys to the Game:

  •   Argentina had to be very patient to break down a defensive Iran side. Nigeria are likely to set up in a similar fashion but have much more pace on the break and could exploit a slow Argentine backline.
  •   The flair players for Argentina were crowded out against Iran, getting very little time and space on the ball. Few players in the world could have won the game in the way that Messi did, he will once again be vital in breaking down Nigeria.
  •   Aguero and Higuaín will both play very narrow through the middle and look to link with short passes around the edgeof the box. Bosnia had some success in this area against Nigeria so if they are on form they should be able to create chances.

    Motivational Keys to the Game:

 Argentina have already qualified for the 2nd round after beating Iran. They only need a draw to win the group but will have to avoid complacency against a dangerous and unpredictable Nigeria team.

 

 

 

Football Form Labs Betting Preview:
Nigeria (39) v Argentina (5) Wednesday 25th June 17:00 BST

On the face of it, a draw would suit both teams; Argentina would win the Group and Nigeria would qualify. It’s unlikely to be that simple because Nigeria with a win would top the Group and therefore most likely avoid France whilst Argentina are unlikely to make wholesale changes having squeezed past Bosnia and Iran without showing their true potential.

This is the fourth time the two have met in the World Cup with Argentina winning all three and most recently a 1-0 win in South Africa four years ago. Their record against teams Bettorlogic ranked 21-60 is impressive with wins in 15 of their last 16; 10 without conceding; nine by two goals or more and seven with a half-time lead. 8 of the 16 games have had at least three goals. Interestingly, since 1970 teams with the points of these two going into the final group match of major tournament, the time with six points have lost as many as they’ve won – 11 of the 31.

Nigeria have had relatively few matches in major finals against Top-10 ranked teams – they’ve lost 3/5 with a 3-2 win against Spain in one of the best matches of the 98 World Cup. Recent results in the Group stage shed little light because since the 2008 African Cup of Nations, they’ve had an even spread of results but mostly against inferior opposition.

Nigeria aren’t set up the way Iran are and therefore Argentina are likely to find more space up the middle. All eyes will be on Lionel Messi who for only the second time in major finals scored in consecutive games against Iran. Again he’s odds-on to score anytime and it may pay to look elsewhere. Sergio Aguero has scored in 21 0f his 51 games for the senior side but hasn’t in his last five internationals which equals his longest drought (Messi went 10 games before scoring against Bosnia).

In a game with nothing that stands out, we like the look of Aguero to get off the mark for this tournament at around even money.

 

 

Recommendation:

Sergio Aguero anytime goalscorer at $2.48 with Screenshot 2014-05-21 12.49.05

 

 

Screenshot 2014-06-13 12.52.23

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