Argentina needed something divine-like and they found it. But to do something god-like comes with much effort and not the easiest of opposition as we saw when Nigeria held it at 1-1 until Marcos Rojo’s strike in the 86th minute. Argentina did get the lead in the first half from Messi when he was one on one with the keeper and he buried it into the left of the goal, but Nigeria continued to defend well, tackling hard. Their opportunity came in the second half of the match when Mascherano committed a foul after a corner and Nigeria were awarded a penalty. With just one step, Victor Moses buried the ball low in the right corner, and it looked like all hope was lost for Argentina.
After this, clearly, Argentina was desperate as Messi hit the post from a free kick, but the perfect moment came in the 86th minute when on the edge of the box, Rojo struck an incoming ball with no mercy, and the past was forgotten in all of Argentina.
Messi himself changed quite a bit and presented a new version of himself, a person whom Argentina was missing for so long. Before the match, at halftime, and even on the field, he focused on what he could do with the ball less, and more of what the team needed to do, making full use of that captain’s armband.
In the other Group D match, Iceland failed to beat Croatia as Croatia took a 2-1 lead in the 90th minute, knocking Iceland out of the competition. Croatia will play Denmark on Sunday at 2 PM Eastern while Argentina has a big match against one of the favorites, France, on Saturday at 10 AM Eastern.