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South Americans to hunt down Africa's last reps?

Argentina vs Nigeria, Colombia vs Senegal: South Americans to hunt down Africa's last torchbearers?

June 25, 2018 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
Two crucial battles await as Argentina and Colombia aim to dash the hopes of Nigeria and Senegal in their respective final group stage games.

All the groups are set for their climax but there is much to look forward to as far as the concluding fixtures in Group D and Group H are concerned. The fate of two continents lies in the outcomes of the respective games lined up.

With Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt ready to board their planes to depart the coasts of Russia for failing to qualify to the knockout phase, all of Africa will hope that Senegal and Nigeria can save face by winning their upcoming games.

Relatively, Colombia and Argentina could join Peru and leave for South America with their star-studded lineups with immediate effect should they falter in their last group games. So then, what should we look forward to? We take a look:

What is the record of the South American teams against the Africans?

  • Argentina vs Nigeria head-to-head

It's been almost a one-way traffic for the Albiceleste as far as victories in matchups against Nigeria are concerned. The men in white and blue have beaten their African counterparts on four occasions at the World Cup, with the latter falling by an odd goal in all of these meetings.

Argentina prevailed over Nigeria via a 2-1 scoreline in 1994, managed a 1-0 in both 2002 and 2010, and finally saw off the three-time African champions in the thrilling 3-2 at the last World Cup in Brazil. There is, however, a kink in the armor of the South Americans as the Super Eagles famously defeated them 4-1 in a friendly back in June 2011 to take the overall head-to-head record across all competitions to 5-1 in favor of Argentina.

So far, just one encounter between the two countries ended in a draw and it came in the 1995 FIFA Confederations Cup held at Saudi Arabia.

  • Colombia vs Senegal head-to-head

Colombia and Senegal have very little history between them ahead of their upcoming crunch encounter. The first and only meeting between the two countries so far took place at the Estadio Pedro Bidegain in Argentina back in May 2014.

Despite going two goals ahead in the first 45 minutes, Colombia was pegged back by two second-half goals by Cheikh N'Doye and Pape Moussa Konate in a 10-man Senegal team.

What are the chances of the South Americans knocking out Africa's last two World Cup contenders?

  • Argentina-Nigeria permutations

For Argentina, there are two different scenarios that can play out to seal their progression. However, both of them require a win against Nigeria.

In the first scenario, Jorge Sampaoli's men will qualify for the Round of 16 if they defeat Nigeria and Croatia also get a win or draws against Iceland. In that case, the Vatreni will finish the group as winners with nine points whereas Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland will get four, three and one/two respectively.

In the other scenario, should Iceland win against Croatia, Argentina will need a greater goal margin as both teams will be tied at four points apiece. For Nigeria, at least a draw will be enough to take them to the promise land.

  • Colombia-Senegal permutations

As things stand, both Japan and Senegal are tied atop Group H with four points and a goal apiece while Colombia follows with three points and two goals. The departing Polish side has no point and a four-goal deficit.

For Colombia, a win or draw could get them through but the later will only aid qualification depending on the results in the Poland vs Japan game. Should the Blue Samurai win against Poland, Colombia would have to win in order to qualify ahead of Senegal.

If Japan loses against Poland, a draw can take both Senegal and Colombia to the last 16 with the latter's superior goal difference. For Senegal, a win or draw will be more than enough to see their smooth transition into the knockout phase.

Possible Starting XIs

  • Argentina vs Nigeria

Sampaoli will most likely resort to the strategy he used against Iceland. There is, however, the tendency of Pauolo Dybala in the starting line-up with Argentina looking to attack as much as possible. 

For Nigeria, Coach Rohr is expected to maintain the sqaud that shone in the game against Iceland.

Argentina's Predicted Starting Eleven (4-2-3-1) Caballero – Salvio, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico, Biglia, Dybala, Messi, Aguero. 

Nigeria's Predicted Starting Eleven (3-5-2) Uzoho –  Balogun, Ekong, Omeruo – Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Idowu – Musa, Iheanacho.

  • Colombia vs Senegal 

Match is not expected to change with regards to the Colombia and Senegal teams that featured against Poland and Japan in the respective previous encounters. 

Colombia's Predicted Starting Eleven (4-2-3-1) Ospina – Mojica, Sanchez, Mina, Arias – Rodriguez, Quintero, Cuadrado – Falcao

Senegal's Predicted Starting Eleven (4-1-4-1) N'Diaye – Sabaly, Koulbaly, Sane, Wague – N'Diaye – Mane, Gueye. N'diaye, Sarr – Niang.

 


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