The 4-2 humiliating defeat handed to Argentina by the Super Eagles of Nigeria in a recent friendly is still reverberating among players of the two-time world champions. Trailing two goals at a point, Nigeria scored four goals in a 46-minute spell to mount a huge comeback against the South Americans on November 14 in Krasnodar and the psychological effect of that result seems to be playing out ahead of the two nations’ clash on June 26 at Saint Petersburg. Earlier this week, PSG forward Angel Di Maria came out strongly to defend the loss which he attributed to the absence of the La Albiceleste captain, Lionel Messi.
He pointed that the inspiration that the team gets when the Barcelona player is leading the team is so huge that the result would have been probably the other way round, however, his colleague Emilio Rigoni, who incidentally replaced Di Maria in the 76th minute of the match, is convinced that Nigeria remains their most difficult opponent in group D.
The FC Zenit Saint Petersburg winger told his club official website that “.”The group is hard. In general, I think that there is no such group at the World Cup in Russia where you can definitely say who is the favorite, where exactly you know which teams will leave the group.”
He added, ”This is not, all matches will be difficult. Separately, I would single out the game with Nigeria, with which we have already met a huge number of times in the last World Cup, and it has never been easy. Nigeria has equally become a source of worry for Croatia with defender Vedran Corluka tagging their opening encounter with Nigeria as their toughest.
Zlatko Dalic’s side will face Gernot Rohr’s men in the group opener in Kaliningrad on June 16 and Corluka told sport.ru.com, “I would like to see our team pay attention to Nigeria because they are the first opponent in Russia, and it will be tough against the tricky team from Africa.”