Late Goal Sends Argentina To Round of 16

With Argentina struggling at the World Cup, getting one point from its first two games, the team, and Messi, had to step up on Tuesday in a must-win match against Nigeria.

The Albiceleste now take on face France in their next fixture on Saturday.

Remember Toni Kroos for Germany against Sweden, Philippe Coutinho and Neymar for Brazil against Costa Rica, as well as Luis Suarez for Uruguay against Saudi Arabia, Marcos Rojo for Argentina versus Nigeria and Ronaldo for Portugal against Spain.

Amid reports that suggest he has lost support of his players, Sampaoli's answer again sought to turn negative into positive.

It will come as some relief as well to Jorge Sampaoli, who was under enormous pressure, especially after rumours surfaced surrounding his relationship with Messi. He then gave Messi the little amulet.

The selection of Banega proved to be an inspired one by Sampaoli, with the Sevilla midfielder providing the quality service that had been lacking so far in Russian Federation. He was so excited that he even fell ill and had to be taken to a hospital after the game.

Defending a corner, Argentine defender Javier Mascherano jockeyed Leon Balogun inside the area and when the Nigerian fell to the ground, Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir awarded a penalty.

"It is logic that having the best player in the world makes you dependant on him", he said.

And the Manchester United defender has revealed that Messi was the inspiration behind the victory. "It just wasn't to be", said captain John Obi Mikel.

African nations are licking their wounds after Senegal's elimination meant no team from the continent reached the tournament's second round for the first time since 1982.

Barcelona star Messi scored the opening goal of the game after racing onto the end of rumoured Arsenal target Éver Banega's inch-perfect pass.

But the murmurings continues over who is actually now in charge of this Argentina side. The superstar wore a special red ribbon in his sock that was sent to him by a woman in Argentina who happens to be the mother of a journalist that the player knows pretty well.