A hungry, tireless team, with no time to waste. Argentina started the game as if they wanted to pay every minute for the previous 180 that they “toured” in Russia. High mark, approach and a lot of intensity. Another team. From Mercado to Messi, mainly through Di Maria and Higuaín, the brothers didn’t let Nigeria breathe, let alone think. It worked.
The first submission, at seven, was a sign of what was ahead. Messi moves and makes room, Banega arms and serves Tagliafico, who kicks out. The entry of the Sevilla midfielder gave dynamism to the passes and freedom for shirt 10. And so the goal came out. At 14, beautiful assistance from Banega, even more beautiful domain from Messi and goal with the right foot. Anyway, disenchanted.
All the superiority of the first half became dramatic for the Argentines in the final stage. Mascherano, who had been at odds with wrong passes, grabbed Balogun in the area at three. Silly penalty converted by Moses. It was Nigeria that advanced with the score. Almost simultaneously, however, the news comes from Rostov: Croatia’s goal.
Argentina attacks as it can. At 35, a cross from the left, Higuaín appears in the area and … loses again. What a fate! Six minutes later, relief. An unlikely hero. Improvised defender, Rojo, who is left-handed, appears in the area to mend the right cross of Mercado. The miracle is in a matter of minutes. That’s the time Perisic needs to make Croatia’s second. Argentina is alive in Russia. Let France come!
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