Ellis Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

Referee: Wolfgang Stark | Attendance: 55686

* Local time based on your geographic location.


  • Gabriel Heinze 6'

1 - 0


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  • 90'

    A reminder there are four rugby union internationals which you can follow on ESPNscrum as well as qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix on ESPNF1

  • 90'

    Nigeria, on the other hand, lacked any real plan or momentum in the final third of the pitch.

  • 90'

    It's all over. Argentina were by far the better team but there's definite evidence of a soft underbelly which suggest they will not be here come July 11.

  • 90'


  • 90'

    Maradona is well out of his technical area in John Travolta stance appealing for a throw.

  • 90'

    Argentina's fans are celebrating already. They think three points are in the bag.

  • 90'

    Nigeria have possession for 30 seconds but never look like putting a cross into the box. Gutierrez is eventually felled by Odemwingie and that could well be that with a minute to go.

  • 90'

    Four minutes to be added on.

  • 90'

    All of a sudden Messi almost finds himself through on goal, but has to settle for a corner, which is taken short

  • 89'

    Argentina are keeping possession and Nigeria are not pressurising them. Madness! They cannot score without the ball. This is stunning. Argentina are happily passing it between themselves.

  • 88'

    Nigeria pushing now. It seems like too little, too late.

  • 87'

    Yakubu pulls the trigger from 25 yards out, Romero dives to his left but then pulls his hands away realising it's always going over the bar.

  • 86'

    Shittu and Maxi clash and Maxi goes down in the box looking for a penalty, the ref ignores the claims.

  • 85'

    SUBSTITUTION:A defensive move for Argentina as Burdisso is on for Di Maria.

  • 84'

    We've just seen the Nigerian chance again, it was at a difficult height but Uche had to hit the target

  • 83'

    Milito hesitates as Argentina break, the pass should have been released earlier, the Nigerian defence gets back and the chance is gone.

  • 82'

    Ooooh! Nigeria break, Yakubu puts in a brilliant cross from the right for the unmarked Uche who cannot fail to score. And he sidefoots over the bar from eight yards out.

  • 81'

    Oooooh! Messi and Di Maria play a sublime one-two which sets Messi clean through. Yet again Enyeama is equal to the effort, making himself big to make the save. If only the defence had done its job early in the match

  • 80'

    ESPN Stats & Info: Lionel Messi has created six goalscoring chances in this match - the most of any player in the tournament so far (previous most was four).

  • 79'

    SUBSTITUTION: Another change for Argentina as Higuain is replaced by Diego Milito

  • 78'

    Great shot from Martins - but it's fired straight at Romero who fists it away

  • 77'

    YELLOW CARD: Haruna is late on Messi and is booked.

  • 76'

    Corner to Nigeria. Haruna takes from the right and curls it out of play. Amazing.

  • 75'

    Argentina to win, with bet365  
    Nigeria to win, with bet365  

  • 75'

    SUBSTITUTION: Nigeria make the change now with the injured Taiwo replace by Kalu Uche

  • 74'

    Messi stands over the free-kick. It's around 25 yards out - and he fires well over.

  • 73'

    SUBSTITUTION: Maxi is on fvor Juan Veron to add extra legs.

  • 72'

    Messi is tripped by Odemwingie just outside the box, and a real chance for Argentina

  • 71'

    Taiwo's in real pain. It looks like he injured himself in shooting and it carried off. A sub will follow surely.

  • 70'

    Ooooooh! Odemwingie takes possession on the left and feeds Taiwo. The left-back hits it first time and it flies inches, inches wide.

  • 69'

    Di Maria wins a corner off the face of Yakubu. Messi tries the "Beckham-Scholes combination" from Bradford City with Veron, but Veron slices wide.

  • 68'

    Higuain blasts over from 25 yards out. He's having a stinker.

  • 67'

    Now the break is on at the other end - the game has come to life! Odemwingie finds himself in possession in the box, but a woeful attempt at control sends the ball flying out for a goal-kick. Another opportunity goes begging.

  • 66'

    Now a chance for Higuain and Enyeama makes another top class save, low down to his right. What a hero.

  • 66'

    The break is on! Argentina have four on two! They simply must score! Tevez's pass to Messi is just behind him so he needs a second touch, then curls it inches wide

  • 65'

    Corner to Nigeria. It comes in from the left into a very dangerous area but there's no green shirt. Heinze heads away.

  • 63'

    Demichelis fells Yakubu near the corner flag. It's a terrible free-kick which Veron heads away

  • 63'

    One of his first touches is a cross from the left, which Romero punches to safety

  • 62'

    Odemwingie is a dangerous player, he could add a vital new dimension for Nigeria

  • 62'

    Snap shot from Kaita, always rising.

  • 61'

    SUBSTITUTION: Peter Odemwingie is on for Chinedu Obasi. No surprise there.

  • 60'

    Argentina to win, with bet365  
    Nigeria to win, with bet365  

  • 60'

    A darting, diagonal run into the box by Messi results in a shot, but the block comes in and Argentina have a corner.

  • 58'

    Obasi gets caught in possession on the left. It's almost as if Nigeria don't believe they can score

  • 57'

    Tevez almost robs Etuhu of the ball. That would have been defensive suicide on the edge of his own box.

  • 56'

    The disappointing Higuain sprints through on goal but Yobo makes a superb last-ditch tackle.

  • 55'

    Obasi has space on the left, he looks to cross into the area but floats it over everyone. They must use the ball better.

  • 54'

    We've got some ball skills from Diego, a neat little side pass to his player for a throw-in.

  • 53'

    SUBSTITUTION: Obafemi Martins comes on for Victor Obinna.

  • 52'

    Veron takes and once again he finds an unmarked team-mate. It's Samuel again who doesn't even have to jump to win the head - but he puts it over. Zonal marking is not working for Nigeria.

  • 51'

    There's been no sign of Nigeria coming out of the blocks fast. It's all Argentina again and they have another corner

  • 49'

    Ooooooh! Veron crosses low into the area, Messi latches onto it and tries a neat flick to help it into the corner and the ball rolls just wide. Close call again

  • 47'

    And we have some troubling information for Nigeria fans from ESPN Stats & Info: Nigeria have not scored a second half World Cup goal since June 28, 1998 in the Second Round against Denmark. (Tijani Babangida, 78')

  • 46'

    Great stat here from ESPN Stats & Info: Messi managed more shots on target in the first half than any of the four teams playing yesterday in total.

  • 46'

    And Nigeria get the second 45 started.

  • 45'

    Argentina to win, with bet365  
    Nigeria to win, with bet365  

  • 45'

    Nigeria are in a huddle, looking for some inspiration ahead of the restart

  • 45'

    Not long until we kick-off again in the Ellis Park Stadium.

  • 45'

    And after France's abject display last night, Paul Marshall believes France's spin doctors need to accept the fact the team is struggling.

  • 45'

    Time to point you in the direction of some of our excellent content today. Uli Hesse on why Germany are neither "effective" nor "clinical," but will make the quarters.

  • 45'

    A reminder there are four rugby union internationals which you can follow on ESPNscrum as well as qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix on ESPNF1

  • 45'

    A comment on the game from Jon Carter, who seems to agree with me: For all Argentina's attacking prowess, they still look a little dodgy at the back. Nigeria could yet spring a shock.

  • 45'

    Argentina look very dangerous going forward, but also look very dangerous at the back. Do Nigeria have the expertise to capitalise on that. Possible not, and Argentina may score again before they do.

  • 45'


  • 45'

    One minute of added time.

  • 45'

    Veron takes the free-kick and puts it way, way over.

  • 44'

    Messi is sent to the floor this time, and it's just a few yards outside the area on the left. Real chance for Argentina.

  • 43'

    Veron is bundled over by Haruna. Haruna cannot believe it, but it was a definite foul.

  • 42'

    Maradona is arguing with the fourth official. My money's on Maradona.

  • 41'

    Taiwo takes the free-kick, Romero punches away with ease.

  • 40'

    YELLOW CARD: Jonas Gutierrez enters the book for a wild challenge on Obasi. That's going to make his job in defence even harder

  • 39'

    ESPN Stats & Info: With Veron's first half assist he now has five World Cup assists. Only Diego Maradona (nine) has delivered more for Argentina in the World Cup since 1966.

  • 38'

    Argentina fail to create anything from the corner, but without the heroics of Enyeama this game would have long been over.

  • 37'

    What a save! Messi and Mascherano work a one-two from the free-kick and Messi's effort was going top corner before Enyeama's fingertips pushed it wide

  • 36'

    Messi wins a free-kick off Obasi on the right flank. A chance to deliver into the area.

  • 35'

    The game has died somewhat. But it was unlikely to carry on at such a fast pace.

  • 33'

    Taiwo delivers a free-kick from the left, it should have been dealt with easily but Nigeria almost work a chance. Romero claims.

  • 32'

    We are officially living in fear of the vuvuzelas ending up in all Premier League grounds.

  • 31'

    Awful pass by Veron there! He tried the chipped pass out wide and found touch. His passing has generally been very impressive.

  • 30'

    Argentina to win, with bet365  
    Nigeria to win, with bet365  

  • 30'

    Argentina are being allowed a lot of possession, Nigeria happy to sit back on the ball.

  • 29'

    Argentina still look a decent bet for a second goal, but I would be really, really worried about their defence.

  • 28'

    Close! Obasi finds himself in yards of space inside the area but his first touch would have been better by a walrus. That allows Gutierrez to get back, Obasi still flashes across the face of goal but it's too far in front of Yakubu.

  • 27'

    It's Etuhu who winds up to hit it, only to smash into the wall. Again, wasteful.

  • 26'

    Free-kick to Nigeria 35 yards out. They must work the keeper.

  • 24'

    Snap shot from Kaita on the edge of the D, but it's always going way, way wide.

  • 23'

    Good run from Yakubu, again trouble for Gutierrez, but the cross hits the first defender

  • 22'

    Enyeama is okay to continue. This time the corner comes in from the right and this time Samuel is completely unmarked. He only heads into the ground and the ball bounces over the bar

  • 21'

    Enyeama look to have picked up a knock. He's been in good form, and he's needed to be, in this game. Nigeria could be in trouble if he has to go off.

  • 20'

    What a ball from Tevez! Perfectly weighted, slid through to Higuain. But the Real Madrid striker has a rabbit in the headlights moment and the keeper saves. Wasteful again.

  • 19'

    Haruna is trying to keep tabs on Messi, and failing miserably.

  • 18'

    It will be interesting to see what would happen should Nigeria level. Does Maradona have anything up his sleeve for that?

  • 17'

    Another determined run by Messi, he tries to find the bottom corner with a curling effort and Enyeama has to get down low to his right to push away.

  • 16'

    Gutierrez gets up in support down the right but can only cross onto the roof of the net.

  • 15'

    Argentina to win, with bet365  
    Nigeria to win, with bet365  

  • 15'

    Messi sprints through the middle again following a fine ball from Veron. Enyeama is wise to it and comes out to collect, but again Messi is a threat.

  • 13'

    Obasi links up well, but his shot from a knock-down is wild.

  • 12'

    Nigeria look incredibly rocky at the back, but Argentina hardly look sound. We'll be seeing more goals today.

  • 11'

    From our stats man: Argentina has scored eight World Cup goals in the first seven minutes of the game. Only Italy (9) and Hungary (10) have more.

  • 10'

    Obinna beats the offside trap down the left and tries to drill across the face of goal. Samuel sticks out a toe and almost puts it into his own net, but it's a corner - which fails to beat the first man and is cleared

  • 9'

    Free-kick to Nigeria. Taiwo takes from the left flank and finds the gloves of Romero. Nigeria have to use these set-pieces much better.

  • 7'

    Great start to the game, excitment France and Uruguay could only ever dream of.

  • 6'

    GOAL! Veron supplied the corner from the right, and the unmarked Gabriel Heinze threw himself at the ball. Heinze's powerful header gave the defender on the line no chance as the ball found the top corner

  • 5'

    Great play by Messi again! Enyeama has to push his goalbound shot from outside the area over the bar

  • 4'

    Terrible miss by Higuain! Messi danced through the middle of the Nigeria defence and squared to the unmarked Higuain six yards out. He sidefooted wide and 'keeper Enyeama breathes a sigh of relief.

  • 3'

    First chance of the game falls to Nigeria. Obasi leaves Gutierrez for dead before firing wildly wide. Gutierrez could be a weak link

  • 2'

    Messi makes his first run at the Nigerian defence after just 40 seconds. Nigeria look worried, it could be a long afternoon for them if that is anything to go by

  • 1'

    Argentina get the game underway.


    Dickson Etuhu plays in central midfield for Nigeria after John Obi Mikel was ruled out.


    Maradona plays a front three of Higuain, Messi and Tevez. They only scored 105 goals last season in club football.


    The teams are lined up in the tunnel: Maradona stood at the back, arms folded, suited and booted.


    Nigeria are not expected to go too far in this tournament and have been talked about the least of the African nations. Perhaps that will work in their favour.


    We've no idea what to expect from this Argentina side, blessed with immense attacking talent but with a manager who could literally do anything.


    Maradona's last World Cup game as a player was against Nigeria, so facing the Super Eagles in his first game back at the finals provides perfect symmetry


    The unforgettable image of a wide-eyed Maradona celebrating like a crazed beast will never be forgotten. Few imagined he would ever return to the finals as a coach


    Diego Maradona is back at the World Cup, 16 years after being thrown out of USA '94 in disgrace

Goal Shot Video
  • Shots (on goal)

  • tackles

  • Fouls

  • possession

  • Argentina

  • 20(7)

  • 31

  • 7

  • 65%


  • Nigeria

  • 12(1)

  • 22

  • 8

Match Stats

  • Argentina
  • Nigeria
20(7) Shots (on goal) 12(1)
7 Fouls 8
10 Corner kicks 4
0 Offsides 0
65% Time of Possession 35%
1 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
1 Saves 6

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