And so, when it came to it, when it seemed that all was lost, Argentina’s hero appeared. His name, this time, was Marcos Rojo. With the Albiceleste on the verge of elimination, the scene before them horribly familiar, songs dying in a thousand throats, the Manchester United defender appeared inside the area to guide a wonderful volley into the corner and send them through to the last 16, at the cost of a Nigeria side who had come from a goal down to make it 1-1 and might have won it. Instead, at the end, it was Argentina celebrating, noise engulfing this arena, players in tears.
Jorge Sampaoli once said that the World Cup is a revolver held against Lionel Messi’s head. Russian roulette is a game that must eventually end one way, but Argentina had hoped it would last longer than it appeared it was going to here, Javier Mascherano the man who seemed to have pulled the trigger until Rojo came to the rescue. Messi had given Argentina the lead with a wonderful goal but a penalty gifted Nigeria an equaliser that left them on the edge of elimination and seemed to offer a portrait of this side. For once, though, there was joy, relief, and it was not Messi who delivered it.
Written by Sid Lowe at the St Petersburg Stadium
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/jun/26/nigeria-argentina-world-cup-match-report under the title “Marcos Rojo’s late goal seals Argentina’s World Cup progress against Nigeria”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.