Published: Fri, June 29, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Late Goal Sends Argentina To Round of 16

Late Goal Sends Argentina To Round of 16

Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli consulted Lionel Messi about substitutions mid-game as the Albiceleste overcame Nigeria to progress to the last 16 of the World Cup.

Argentina's escape came after Rojo came close to having a penalty awarded against for handball minutes earlier until he was saved by a controversial VAR review.

Croatia's Luka Modric in action during their World Cup clash against Iceland.

Messi was subdued during a tumultuous first two games in Russian Federation, missing a penalty in a 1-1 draw with tiny Iceland and then vanishing nearly entirely from sight in a 3-0 defeat by Croatia.

Indeed, Ronaldo scored the first hat trick of Russian Federation 2018, and quickly went top of the goals scorers' log, until Harry Kane followed suit for England in a 6-1 trouncing of Panama, few days after netting two in a 2-1 spanking of Tunisia.

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Everything was going according to plan in one of the most important matches of his career, the 30,000 Argentinians in attendance were singing and at 35 minutes of the first half he was centimetres away from scoring the second goal with a free-kick that struck the goalpost. It was Gylfi Sigurdsson, who missed a PK in the last game, finding the back of the net from the penalty spot. Then Perisic, in the 90th minute, went upper corner for the win.

A highly emotional Maradona rushed to the front of the VIP box where he was watching and gave a one-fingered salute with both hands and shouted an obscene insult. A very nice performance and it builds some more positive vibes.

Changes made to the team for the last group game were created to play to Messi's strengths, with Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain restored to the starting line-up to feature alongside him in a preferred 4-3-3 formation that sought to banish the ghosts of a miserable showing in their previous Group D game - a horror 3-0 loss to Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod last week where Argentina looked tactically impoverised and Messi was anonymous. With the point, France wins Group C with seven points, while the point for the Danes clinched a spot in the next round as the runner-up of the group.

But once their ragged defence was able to hold on to the final whistle, the Argentina players embraced each other in the centre of the pitch, waving to their vociferous fans, a disjointed side united for now. "France is a very good team with skilled individual players". Denmark will play on Sunday, with its most likely opponent being Croatia.

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