World Cup: Argentina vs. Nigeria (Matchday Commentary)

World Cup: Argentina vs. Nigeria (Matchday Commentary)

World Cup 2010

World Cup: Argentina vs. Nigeria (Matchday Commentary)

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Argentina Crest   Nigeria Crest

The first team to grab three points at the 2010 World Cup is South Korea, making the match between fellow Group B teams Argentina and Nigeria that much more important.

Group favorites Argentina and Nigeria will square off (9:30am, ESPN) at Ellis Park in Johannesburg in the second match of Day Two. Reigning FIFA Player of the Year Lionel Messi will look to lead Argentina to victory, while also hoping to silence his critics back at home. Nigeria has quality and pace in attack, but will need to be compact in the back in order stop Maradona's men from winning.

This is Franco Panizo and I will be providing commentary throughout the match. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and analysis in the comments section below.

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FINAL- That's all for me. Please stay tuned to SBI as we bring you coverage for one of the most anticipated matches in U.S. national team history. Less than two hours until the USA-England match kicks off.

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FINAL- So the standings in Group B look like this: South Korea 3 points (+2 goal differential), Argentina 3 points (+1 gd), Nigeria 0 points (-1 gd), Greece 0 points (-2 gd).

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FINAL- Argentina showed its offensive fire power, but showed weakness in defense at times. South Korea's quickness might cause problems for the albiceleste.

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FINAL- Nigeria looked much better in the second half when Martins and Odemwingie came on. It wouldn't surprise me to see them both start for the Super Eagles against Greece.

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FINAL- Argentina takes 3 points with a 1-0 victory. Maradona wins his first World Cup match as a manager, you know he will want to party tonight. Will he? Who knows really?

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94th minute- Nothing doing in stoppage time. Argentina wins 1-0 courtesy of Heinze's 6th minute header.

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90th minute- Four minutes of stoppage time. Nigeria needs to apply pressure and throw numbers forward.

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87th minute- Things picking up in these final 10 minutes. Yakubu unleashes a shot from outside the area, but it goes high. Nigeria is finding space to operate in the middle of the pitch now.

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85th minute- Maradona uses his final substitution. Nicolas Burdisso in for Di Maria.

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83rd minute- WOW! Nigeria finds space down the right and the cross finds a wide-open Uche, who mis-hits the ball and sees it go over the cross bar. 

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82nd minute- Great combination from Messi and Di Maria, but Messi is denied again by Enyeama. What a save!

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80th minute- Argentina makes another change: Diego Milito in for Higuain. I wasn't too impressed with Higuain today. He missed two clear chances and his work off the ball was subpar.

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79th minute- Martins blasts one from outside the penalty area and Romero punches it out. One of Nigeria's better chances on the day.

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77th minute- Haruna fouls Messi and he gets a yellow for his troubles. Maradona is livid on the sidelines.

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75th minute- Nigeria makes a sub. Midfielder Kalu Uche in for Taiwo, who appears to be walking a bit more under his own power.

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74th minute- Foul on Messi outside the box and Argentina has a good-looking chance. 

Sub for Argentina: Maxi Rodriguez for Veron. Good, solid outing by Veron today.

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70th minute- WOW! Taiwo almost equalizes for Nigeria with a rocket shot that goes inches wide. Taiwo appears to have hurt himself on the shot and is being carried to the sideline by the medical trainers.

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69th minute- A Messi corner flies to Veron outside of the 18 and his half-volley attempy goes soaring.

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65th minute- Argentina springs a great counter, but a 4-on-2 advantage ends in a Messi shot wide of the post. Wow.

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64th minute- Nothing comes off the free kick.

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63rd minute- Odemwingie so far has provided a spark. Played a great long ball to Martins on his first touch, and now quickly one-touches the ball to Yakubu, who draws a foul.

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59th minute- Odemwingie subbed in, replaces Obasi.

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58th minute- Lars Lagerback talking to Peter Odemwingie, who is about to be subbed on. U.S. fans will remember Odemwingie from the 2008 Olympics

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55th minute- Argentina isn't finding as much space as in the first half, but it still controls this game.

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52nd minute- Nigeria sub. Obafemi Martins is coming on, and Obinna is coming off.

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52nd minute- Another open look on a corner kick for Argentina as Samuel heads one high. I guess Nigeria hasn't learned from the first half.

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50th minute- Argentina knocking it around, and its fans are chanting "ole", I believe. Hard to tell with all the vuvuzelas drowning out the chants.

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49th minute- Wow! Veron sprays in a low cross from the right flank that Messi gets the slightest of touches on and it rolls just wide. 

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46th minute- The second half is underway. No changes by either team.

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HALFTIME- With Khune's performance yesterday for South Africa, and with Enyeama's first half today, I think it's safe to say that the African goalkeepers have been the best of the tournament thus far.

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HALFTIME- Mascherano and Veron have clogged up the middle of the field. More of that and Argentina will take away the three points. 

Hard to believe Veron's first World Cup was 12 years ago. He can still play at this level.

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HALFTIME- Nigeria has been lifeless in attack for a while. Maybe a change at halftime? I wouldn't mind seeing Obafemi Martins come in; his pace would cause problems for Argentina's back line.

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HALFTIME- The first 45 comes to a close. Messi has caused all sorts of problems for Nigeria, but Enyeama has been incredible. The Nigerian goalkeeper is singlehandedly keeping this game close.

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45th minute- One minute of stoppage time added.

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44th minute- Messi is fouled and the Argentines are getting heated, Heinze especially. Not sure what they are clamoring about. Messi gets fouled like that all the time.

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43rd minute- Wow, that is awful. Nigeria surrenders its throw-in after an illegal throw. Argentina ball.

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41st minute- Yellow card for Jonas Gutierrez for a silly foul.

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39th minute- Messi could at least have a couple of goals today. Enyeama is keeping Nigeria in this game. 

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37th minute- Enyeama makes another fantastic save from a Messi shot that was curling for the top corner. Great, great set piece drawn up there by the Argentines.

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36th minute- Maradona is spouting off about something to the fourth official. Maybe he wishes to get naked now? Kidding….

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33rd minute- Nigeria has been toothless in attack the last 5-10 minutes.

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30th minute- Mascherano and Veron are doing a great job clogging the center of the field. Nigeria being forced to attack down the flanks, where it has had some success.

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28th minute- Obasi gets an open look on goal, but his first touch lets him down and his shot is hurried and wide.

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28th minute- Poor shot taken by Taiwo on the free kick nothing doing.

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27th minute- A foul is called on Demichelis and Nigeria will have a good chance to curl one in here.

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23rd minute- Walter Samuel gets a head on Argentina's corner, but it takes an unkind bounce as Enyeama scoops up the ball. Nigeria's marking on set pieces has been awful.

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20th minute- SHOT SAVED! Tevez plays a nice ball to Higuain, but his shot from the right side is parried by Enyeama. Higuain misses another clear chance.

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20th minute- Messi does a great job of tracking back to apply pressure and cause turnovers. He did it there, but was brought down on what looked to be a foul. No call, though.

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17th minute- Argentina looks to have just too much power in attack. The back line has also looked fairly organized when Nigeria has gone forward.

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14th minute- A great long ball by Veron is played to Messi, who made a perfect run out of midfield, but a very aware Enyeama comes out grabs the ball before anything comes of it.

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10th minute- Nigeria has had some success getting forward, but the final ball has been lacking. It must get better if they hope to equalize.

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7th minute- Pure jubilation on the sidelines for Maradona and his team. Nigeria with some horrific marking on that set piece, but Heinze did well to get under that nonetheless.

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6th minute- GOAL ARGENTINA!!! Heinze with a diving header that soars into the top corner! WOW. 1-0 Argentina.

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5th minute- Messi unleashes a wicked shot that Enyeama amazingly punches clear for a corner.

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4th minute- Messi makes one of his darting runs and lays off a pass to Higuain, who mis-hits the ball just in front of the goal. The Real Madrid sriker should have scored there. Wow.

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3rd minute- Obasi with some nice stepovers on Gutierrez before unleashing a shot that goes well wide. Still, a good, confident start for Argentina.

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1st minute- And we're off. Who will keep pace with South Korea atop Group B?

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PRE-GAME- How Lars Lagerback and Nigeria cope with the loss of John Obi Mikel could prove vital to today's result. If anyone can stymie the Argentine attack though, it is Lagerback. In 2002, he coached Sweden to a shocking 1-1 draw against Argentina that knocked out the South Americans in group play of the World Cup.

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How will Diego Maradona fare in his first World Cup match as a manager? World Cup qualifying wouldn't indicate not so good, but this is the stage where he has shone before.

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PRE-GAME- Nigeria XI:

—–Obinna———-Yakubu——–Obasi——

——Kaita———-Etuhu———Haruna——-

—Odiah—–Taiwo———-Yobo——–Shittu—-

———————-Enyeama———————

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PRE-GAME- Argentina XI:

—–Tevez———-Higuain———Messi——

–Di Maria—–Veron—Mascherano—Gutierrez–

—–Heinze——–Samuel——–Demichelis—–

———————-Romero———————

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