Nigeria's forward Emmanuel Emenike (L) and Argentina's midfielder Javier Mascherano vie for the ball during a Group F football match between Nigeria and Argentina at the Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 25, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PEDRO UGARTEPEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images


By Izuchukwu Okosi


Argentina may not have an easy game against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in both sides’ last Group D game of the 2018 World Cup in Russia according to midfielder Javier Mascherano.

The countries had faced each other at the USA 94, Korea/Japan 2002, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014  World Cups with France 98 World Cup the only exception since Nigeria’s participation at the tournament began fours years earlier.

Argentina have touched down in Russia ahead of Saturday’s opener with Group D opener with Iceland and Mascherano spoke to the media on his thoughts regarding group opponents; Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland.

The Eagles and their South American foes will clash at the Krestovsky Stadium.

“Nigeria are quite well known to us, we’ve always met in the last World Cups,”  Mascherano noted.

“They’re tough, not just because of their physical power, but because their disorganisation has the effect of disorganising you as a rival.

“And that’s when teams like ours suffer the most – in disorder.”

Former Liverpool and Barcelona midfielder Mascherano then spoke of the other rivals.

“Iceland are a new team in the sense that they maybe don’t have a long football tradition but they’re a generation of players that have made history recently, with spectacular success at Euro 16, and qualifying ahead of Croatia,” Mascherano stressed.

“Croatia are a first-class side with top players, especially in the midfield, such as Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic, Rakitic … Perisic; a team to watch out, quality squad.”