Argentina finally showed glimpses of its old self today.
Fueled by an 87' stunner by Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo, the South Americans defeated Nigeria today 1-2, becoming the 8th team to advance to the round of 16.
After starting off the group F matches with a frustrating draw against Iceland, and devastating 3-0 loss to Croatia, the Argentinians found themselves in a 3 way battle for advancement with Iceland and Nigeria. The team needed 3 points from today's match, as well as a win by group leaders Croatia against Iceland, to continue onto the knockout round.
And that's just what happened.
Messi opened the scoreline in the 14' with a brilliant strike, assisted by Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega. Nigeria struck back just minutes after half with a penalty slotted in by Chelsea winger Victor Moses.
With just 3 minutes left in extra time, Gabriel Mercado's cross found Rojo in the box, who slots home the game winner with his right foot. The stadium erupted with joy from the South American fans, who may have just witnessed a pivotal goal in their team's world cup conquest. Former Argentina legend Diego Maradona rejoiced in excitement up in his box, as well as gave the ol' "five finger salute" to the fans below.
Minutes later, the Argentinians caught word of Iceland's defeat to Croatia, as the roars from the crowd grew even louder having learned they will earn a spot in the next round of the tournament. Nigeria did not retort, and the score stays at 2-1 time expires.
Argentina will play France in the round of 16 on Saturday, 6/30.