Nigeria v Argentina - Match Preview: Stoke striker to start

Nigeria Fans 3

Peter Odemwingie scored the winner in Nigeria's win over Bosnia & Herzegovina, and he will be desperate to do the same against Argentina on Wednesday.

To be played on Wednesday 25th June 2014 at 17:00. Venue: Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre.

Odds: Nigeria 6/1, Draw 3/1, Argentina 1/2

Preview & injury news

Nigeria go into their last group match against Argentina knowing that if they avoid defeat, they will qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup. After Lionel Messi's superb goal in the last minute against Iran, they have already qualified from Group F after two wins from two. As a result, the Sky Blues could rest key players against Nigeria to ensure they are at their physical and mental peak for the last 16, but they will want to ensure top spot in a group that should, in theory, mean they have an easier tie in the first round of the knockout stage. 

Nigeria will be full of confidence after their 1-0 victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina, with a goal from Stoke City striker Peter Odemwingie. Emmanuel Emenike was outstanding in his performance against Bosnia, and the Super Eagles will be hoping the striker will carry on with his good form against an Argentina side that looks nervous in defence so far. 

The pressure will be on the team form Africa, as they know should Iran beat Bosnia in the other match, they will need to stop Lionel Messi and co from beating them, otherwise they face an early exit from the World Cup.

Key stats

Nigeria have never won against a South American team at World Cup, losing all four.

Lionel Messi has scored eight goals in his last seven appearances for Argentina.

This will be the fourth meeting involving Nigeria and Argentina at a FIFA World Cup; Argentina won the previous three to have taken place.

5 players to watch

Lionel Messi - His last minute winner against Iran was his second superb individual goal of the tournament, and enough to show the world he means business in this tournament. With more and more Argentina fans flocking over to Brazil in the hope of seeing them succeed, the pressure will build on Messi to deliver, but so far he looks at ease with that pressure.

Emmanuel Emenike - The Fenerbahce striker was superb in Nigeria's win over Bosnia. Every time he received the ball, he looked to beat his opposite man with his pace and dribbling ability, leaving his opposite number Emir Spahic having nightmares about his performance. Nigeria won't see many chances to attack against Nigeria, but Emenike's pace on the break could be important, he will need to continue in his good form.

Ezequiel Garay - The Argentina centre-back struggled against Iran on Saturday, and will need to improve his performance drastically if his country is going to win another World Cup. Nigeria will target him in the back four and he will need to stand up to the challenge and help his country keep a clean sheet and finish top of Group F.

Peter Odemwingie - The Stoke City striker is well known to football fans in England, predominantly after appearing in the QPR training ground on transfer deadline day looking for a transfer. However he scored Nigeria's first goal in the tournament with a good finish against club team mate Asmir Begovic. You never know what you're going to get from Odemwingie, but the Super Eagles will hope his best ability turns up to this match.

Javier Mascherano - Mascherano is very much the unsung hero in the Argentina team, without him in it, it would look a lot weaker. Sitting in the holding midfielder position, he so often wins the ball for his team and gives it forward to the number of attacking options in the squad. His role is vital in allowing the front four the freedom to attack, and the Barcelona man will be desperate to continue his fine form.

Last time they met

Nigeria 1-3 Argentina, Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 2011.

Form Guide

Nigeria Form

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Argentina Form

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