Higuain, Di Maria return for much-changed Argentina


SAINT PETERSBURG, June 26, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Under-fire Argentina coach
Jorge Sampaoli made five changes from the 3-0 thrashing by Croatia in a bid
to salvage the two-time winners’ World Cup campaign against Nigeria on

Argentina need to beat the Africans in Saint Petersburg and better
Iceland’s result against Croatia in the other game in Group D to avoid a
humiliating group-stage exit.

Five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi is looking to open his
account in Russia and is partnered up front by Gonzalo Higuain in his first
start of the tournament, with Sergio Aguero left out.

Angel Di Maria, Ever Banega and Marcos Rojo also return, while River
Plate’s Franco Armani makes his international debut in goal, with Willy
Caballero dropped after a costly error against Croatia.

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr names the same side that beat Iceland 2-0 on
Friday to move into pole position to qualify for the knockout stage with

Argentina (4-3-3)

Franco Armani; Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas
Tagliafico; Enzo Perez, Javier Mascherano, Ever Banega; Lionel Messi (capt),
Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria

Coach: Jorge Sampaoli (ARG)

Nigeria (3-5-2)

Francis Uzoho; Bryan Idowu, William Ekong, Leon Balogun; Victor Moses,
Wilfred Ndidi, John Obi Mikel (capt), Oghenekaro Etebo, Kenneth Omeruo;
Kelechi Iheanacho, Ahmed Musa

Coach: Gernot Rohr (GER)

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)