Nigeria drawn against perennial World Cup conquerors, Argentina again

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2
Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi
For
the 5
th
time in six, Nigeria will play against Argentina in the group stage
of a FIFA World Cup as the draws signified in Russia on Wednesday.

Nigeria’s
Super Eagles will be in Group D against Argentina, Iceland and
Croatia at the World Cup in Russia.

Friday’s
Final Draw in Moscow also paired neighbours Spain and Portugal in the
same Group B, alongside Spain’s North African neighbours Morocco as
well as Iran, while Brazil, Mexico, Sweden and Korea Republic will
battle out in a very interesting Group F.

Nigeria
played against Argentina in the group phase of the FIFA World Cup in
1994, 2002, 2010 and 2014, losing narrowly on each occasion. The
venue was Foxboro Stadium, Boston in 1994 (2-1 Argentina), Ibaraki
Arena in 2002 (1-0 Argentina), Ellis Park, Johannesburg in 2010 (1-0
Argentina) and Porto Alegre in 2014 (3-2 Argentina).

However,
in a friendly game on Russian soil (Krasnodar) on 14th November (only
17 days ago), the Super Eagles came from two goals down to defeat the
two –time world champions 4-2.

Argentina
won the FIFA World Cup title in 1978 and 1986, and were losing
finalists in Italy in 1990 (they lost to Germany courtesy of a late
penalty) and in Brazil in 2014 (beaten in extra time by Germany).

In
Russia, the Super Eagles’ first match will be against Croatia at
the 35,000 –capacity Kaliningrad Stadium on Saturday, 16th June
2018 at 9pm (Kaliningrad time).

Zlatko
Dalic is coach of Croatia and top stars include Mario Mandzukic, Ivan
Rakitic, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic.

Croatia
had to qualify through a play –off, in which they dismissed Greece.

In
that country’s first –ever outing at the FIFA World Cup, Croatia
surprised all by taking the bronze medals, powered by Davor Suker.
But the country has failed to make it out of the group phase in her
three appearances in the finals since then.

For
their second match, Nigeria will fly to Volgograd, where they take on
Iceland at the 45,000 –capacity Volgograd Arena on Friday, 22nd
June 2018. Time is 6pm.

Iceland
is making a first appearance at the FIFA World Cup, and is the
smallest country ever to qualify for the finals. The country has a
population of 335,000. Iceland shocked the whole of Europe last year
summer, reaching the quarter –finals of the European Championship
in France. Heimir Hallgrimsson is coach and star player is Gylfi
Sigurdsson.

Iceland
were actually in the same European qualifying group with Croatia, and
topped the pool to condemn the Croatians to a play –off against
Greece.

Nigeria’s
final group phase game is against Argentina on Tuesday, 26th June
2018 and the venue is the 68,000 –capacity Saint Petersburg
Stadium, the second biggest venue at the finals. Time is 9pm, same
time that Croatia and Iceland will be battling at the Rostov Arena.

The
opening match of Russia 2018 will be between Russia and Saudi Arabia,
starting 6pm at the 81,000 –capacity Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow –
the venue that will also host the Final Match on 15th July 2018.

NIGERIA’S
RUSSIA 2018 GROUP MATCHES

Croatia
Vs Nigeria (Kaliningrad Stadium, 16th June, 9pm)

Nigeria
Vs Iceland (Volgograd Arena, 22nd June, 6pm)

Nigeria
Vs Argentina (Saint Petersburg Stadium, 26th June, 9pm)

ALL
THE GROUPS

GROUP
A

Russia

Saudi
Arabia

Egypt

Uruguay

GROUP
B

Portugal

Spain

Morocco

Iran

GROUP
C

France

Australia

Peru

Denmark

GROUP
D

Argentina

Iceland

Croatia

Nigeria

GROUP
E

Brazil

Switzerland

Costa
Rica

Serbia

GROUP
F

Germany

Mexico

Sweden

Korea
Republic

GROUP
G

Belgium

Panama

Tunisia

England

GROUP
H

Poland

Senegal

Colombia

Japan

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