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Argentina Leans Again on Messi

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Argentina’s march through the World Cup continues with its final Group F match, against Nigeria, in Port Alegre, Brazil.

But you can be sure that Argentina is already looking ahead to the Round of 16, a ticket that Argentina has already punched with a 1-0 victory over Iran. And yet the race is not yet over. Argentina has six points and leads Group F, but Nigeria can say something about that and remains in the conversation with four points. While Argentina was edging Iran, Nigeria was doing the same with a 1-0 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

So the top two teams in Group F collide, a meeting of Argentina scoring star Lionel Messi and the team-oriented defensive front of Nigerian Coach Stephen Keshi. Messi has scored a goal in both Argentina games while Nigeria has not allowed a goal in its two previous games.

Looking ahead to the knockout round, the Group F winner would play the second-place team from Group E, and that spot is far from decided, either France, Ecuador or Switzerland. And that Group F runner-up will play the Group F winner – France now leads.

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