2018 FIFA WC

2018 FIFA WC: Rojo the saviour, Argentina books their place in the knock-out stage by beating Nigeria

[caption id="attachment_68858" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Marcos Rojo's stunning goal help Argentina to reach the pre-quarterfinals of World Cup. Image Source: twitter[/caption]

XtraTime Web Desk: A huge sigh of relief for the Argentina fans across the globe as they escaped a humiliating first-round exit from the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday, by stunning Nigeria, 2-1, thanks to a memorable goal by defender Marcos Rojo in the 86th minute.

Lionel Messi, the Argentine star who was counted on to save his nation’s pride, delivered an early goal and seemingly willed his team to victory in the second half.

[caption id="attachment_68859" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Lionel Messi scored the opener for Argentina. Image Source: twitter[/caption]

The result, combined with Iceland’s 1-2 defeat to Croatia in Rostov, allowed Argentina to scrape into the round of 16 after starting the day in last place in their four-team group. Nigeria nearly spoiled the night, however, when Victor Moses answered Messi’s goal with a penalty kick in the second half. Argentina defender Javier Mascherano had surrendered it by pulling down a Nigerian forward on a free kick. But Rojo saved the day, sending the capacity crowd — which included the World Cup legend Diego Maradona — into a spasm of singing, shirt-waving, foot-stomping hysterics.

Argentina’s work isn’t done: it will face France, a World Cup favorite that won its group, in the round of 16 on Saturday in Kazan. Croatia will play Denmark in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday.

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