Argentina playing Nigeria in the first round of the 2010 World Cup should be a no brainer. Argentina is a front runner to make the round of eight in the World Cup but there are some caveats that cannot be ignored when it comes to Argentina.
The first drawback for Argentina is their coach, an icon in Argentina, Diego Maradona. Maradona is so eccentric he may just coach a talented Argentina squad out of the World Cup in the round of 16. Maradona over manages at times and under manages the other half of the time. Maradona is not much for pre planning and also not much of a coach under intense pressure.
Coaching breakdown for this World Cup match.
Argentina’s coach is the infamous, Diego Maradona. Once the greatest soccer player in the history of Argentina, Maradona has become somewhat of a clown in the International soccer community. Maradona has a ton of talent on his Argentina team and his only goal should be not to screw his national team up.
On the Nigerian side of the pitch is Lars Lagerback. Former coach of the team from Sweden, Lagerback is a task master that can take this rag tag Nigerian team to the next level. The odds are against Nigeria but when there is a will there is a way.
Strikers will set the tone in this opening round World Cup match.
Argentina has the definite edge when it comes to strikers. Argentina’s best player up front is Lionel Messi. When it comes to playing on the attack, Messi is fearless but he has yet to live up to his greatness while playing for his home country. Messi has to be on his game or Argentina will fall hard and fall fast in the World Cup.
Nigeria is already in a world of hurt heading into their first match with Argentina. John Obi Mikel is out of the tournament. Although Obi Mikel is a midfielder he is an essential cog in the Nigerian scoring machine. Nigeria’s chances will come down to players on the attack. Victor Obinna was the striker that carried Nigeria to a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Peter Odemwingie is a wild card on Nigeria and could put them over the top in a close match.
Goaltenders in this game will make or break World Cup dreams.
The two goaltenders matching up in this first round World Cup match are both brick walls but the edge is definitely on Argentina’s side. Mariano Andujar has shown he can shutout some of the greatest scorers of all time. Andujar had a stretch of 800 minutes without allowing as much as a fly to cross his goal line. Andujar’s performance in the Copa Libertadores was one for the ages and if he can repeat that performance he will single handedly move Argentina into the round of eight in the World Cup.
On the other side of pitch is Bamidele Aiyenugba. Aiyenugba is a solid goalkeeper that can turn in some out of the box performances. Consistency is the problem with Aiyenugba and if he is off the week of the World Cup, Nigeria is done before the opening bell.
Final breakdown Nigeria +700 vs Argentina -225 according to the Las Vegas Hilton Superbook.
It is tough to tell anyone to lay 225 to win 100 on a World Cup match but Nigeria may not have much of a shot in this match. For those gamblers out there. How many people will tell a player to take a flyer on a match like this. Argentina is ripe for the upset but it tough to play against Argentina. Take both sides. Play Nigeria +700 and then hammer Argentina -225, it is not a fool proof play but it will be a blast if the dog hits.
www.espn.go.com team stats.
Las Vegas Hilton Superbook First Round odds to win.