The World Cup hasn’t lacked in excitement thus far, and this game probably heads the queue. It should have been something like 6-2 for Argentina. It would have been, had it not been for the fine work of Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama. Yes, finally there’s a solid keeper plying his trade for an African side. Enyeama was beaten only by Gabriel Heinze’s free header early on. [ad#as3]
Argentina boss Diego Maradona, as expected, played an attacking trio up front, Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain, and they prospered, particularly Messi. Never really cutting it at international level, the reigning world player of the year finally came to life in an Argentina shirt, looking lively throughout. Enyeama had to be at his best to tip over Messi’s curler in the first half and then deprived the little maestro from close range in the second. Higuain missed a few chances – nothing new there. Maradona might just opt for Diego Milito in the next game.
As good as Argentina was going forward, Nigeria had its chances. Particularly early in the first half, Argentinian right back Jonas Gutierrez was error prone. In the second half, Peter Odemwingie blew a golden chance when he mis-controlled a ball with Nigerian teammate Obafemi Martins alone in front of goal. Then, Kalu Uche, in a great spot, send his difficult chance over the bar. He wasn’t troubled, but Argentina keeper Sergio Romero, at this early stage, isn’t in Enyeama’s class. He looks more style, with his pony-tail, than substance.
Argentina’s big rivals at the World Cup will take heart from its leaky defense. Going forward, Maradona’s big guns, however, will be hard to control.
Argentina 1 (Heinze 6)