Messi ends 11-hour drought; Moscow ends 36-game goal-fest
More drama. More late goals. More heartbreaks, and one notable great escape. Here are the best numbers from the thrilling final round of fixtures in Group C and D.
Lionel Messi is the first player in World Cup history to have scored in his teens, 20s as well as in his 30s. Messi's only goal in the 2006 World Cup came against Serbia & Montenegro while he was seven days shy of turning 19. He also scored four goals at the 2014 World Cup -- the first of them at the age of 26 years, 357 days -- and now scored his first in 2018 two days after turning 31.
Three of Messi's six World Cup goals have now come against Nigeria. He also ended a 660-minute scoreless streak, with his last goal having come in the group stages of the 2014 World Cup, when he scored a brace in a 3-2 win, also against Nigeria. He also joins Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta as the only Argentines to have scored in three World Cups..
This is Nigeria's sixth loss against CONMEBOL (South American) opposition, and fifth straight defeat to Argentina, since their first meeting in the group stages of 1994, when Argentina won 2-1. Nigeria also lost 3-1 to Paraguay in the group stages four years later in France.
The World Cup went 36 matches before its first goalless draw, with France holding Denmark on Tuesday, and this is now the record for the longest stretch of games without a goalless draw through any World Cup. The previous longest streak was 32 matches during the 1998 World Cup.
With Franco Armani starting in goal in place of Willy Caballero, Argentina have given a start to two different goalkeepers during a World Cup campaign for the first time in 28 years, since Nery Pumpido and Sergio Goycochea both started matches during the 1990 World Cup. Argentina also used both Roberto Abbondanzieri and Leo Franco in 2006, but the latter came on as a substitute in their last match against Germany on that occasion. Goycochea famously starred in the Argentina's run to the 1990 final, seeing off both Yugoslavia and hosts Italy on penalties with him in goal.
Andre Carrillo's sumptuous volley to put Peru ahead against Australia was the first World Cup goal for them in 205 minutes, and 36 years. Peru's last World Cup goal had come from Guillermo La Rosa in the 83rd minute of their last group game in 1982, in a 5-1 defeat against Poland. It was also their first World Cup win in 40 years, the last one came against Iran in 1978 when they won 41.
Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty against Croatia was the 17th penalty converted at this World Cup, drawing level with the record 17 penalties converted at the 1998 World Cup in France. Croatia's 2-1 win despite that goal has meant they have finished the group stages of a World Cup with three successive wins for the very first time.
Marcos Rojo's 86th-minute goal is the second-latest winner for Argentina in World Cups, just behind Lionel Messi's goal in the first minute of added time against Iran in 2014. Incidentally, Rojo and Messi were also the Argentine scorers in their last Word Cup meeting against Nigeria, a 3-2 win in 2014.
(Statistics courtesy of ESPN's Stats & Information Group)