Ahmed Musa struck both goals as Nigeria boosted their World Cup qualification hopes with a 2-0 defeat of Iceland, a result that is also good news for Argentina.
Lionel Messi's team were pushed to the brink of an early exit after a stunning 3-0 loss to Croatia on Thursday, but victory in their final Group D game against Nigeria could now send them through to the last 16.
Musa was left out of Nigeria's loss to Croatia but he justified his recall to the side with the opening goal shortly after the interval at the Volgograd Arena on Friday.
The forward controlled a cross from Victor Moses and thumped an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net, with Musa becoming the Super Eagles' top scorer in the history of the tournament courtesy of his third World Cup goal.
Nigeria were poor in the first half - failing to record a single shot - but they were much improved after the break, Musa adding another to his personal tally in the 75th minute as Iceland's rock-like resilience crumbled.
Iceland, who saw Gylfi Sigurdsson miss a late penalty, need to win to stand any chance of making the knockout stages, although even three points may not be enough depending on the outcome of Nigeria's clash with Argentina with all three teams still standing a chance to join Croatia in the last 16.
Gylfi Sigurdsson had tested Francis Uzoho with an early free-kick as Iceland made a bright start.
Iceland's star man then fired a sixth-minute chance straight at the teenage goalkeeper, who dealt with a string of corners as both sides struggled for fluency in midfield.
But Iceland almost took the lead in the last minute of the first half, Alfred Finnbogason unable to get a decisive touch on Gylfi Sigurdsson's dangerous free-kick delivered from the right wing.
Nigeria, in contrast, were unable to put any cohesive attacking moves together, meaning they became the first team at Russia 2018 to fail to record an attempt in the first half
They did test Hannes Thor Halldorsson just 14 seconds after the restart, with the goalkeeper easily saving from Oghenekaro Etebo, who had scored an own goal in his team's 2-0 defeat in Kaliningrad at the weekend.
However, the Super Eagles opened the scoring with their next attack in the 49th minute.
Moses led a rapid break down the right with his cross brilliantly collected by Musa, whose superb first touch took defender Ragnar Sigurdsson out of the equation. If Musa's first touch was good his second was even better, a lashed finish on the half-volley giving Halldorsson no chance.
Nigeria's confidence levels grew in the wake of the goal, Halldorsson having to be alert to tip over a deflected rifled drive from Wilfred Ndidi.
Musa rattled the crossbar as Nigeria pushed to seal all three points - and the striker would not be denied again in the 75th minute.
Fed by Kenneth Omeruo, Musa burst clear in the left channel, cut inside and slipped a calm finish past Halldorsson.
Nigeria survived a late scare after a VAR review spotted substitute Tyronne Ebuehi had tripped Finnbogason, with Gylfi Sigurdsson's spot-kick effort clearing the crossbar.
But a late injury to captain John Obi Mikel, who appeared to hurt his hand during six minutes of additional time, could be a concern for Gernot Rohr's side ahead of an all-or-nothing clash with Argentina.
Key Opta stats:
- All six of Nigeria’s World Cup wins have come against European opposition, and they have kept a clean sheet in five of those victories.
- This was Iceland’s first defeat in a group stage match at a major international tournament, having previously drawn three and won one of their four games.
- Ahmed Musa has scored each of Nigeria’s last four goals at the World Cup, having also bagged a brace in a 3-2 defeat to Argentina in 2014.
- Gylfi Sigurdsson fired in two shots on target in the first six minutes of this match, as many as his side managed in total in 90 minutes against Argentina
- This was only Nigeria’s second win in their last 14 matches at the World Cup (D3 L9), having also beating Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.
26 de marzo 2019
|Nurkic carried off on stretcher after sickening injury|
|Magic shock 76ers, Nurkic suffers gruesome leg injury|
|Jazz´s Gobert sets NBA single-season dunk record|
|Halep eliminates Venus, Andreescu´s succumbs to injury|
|Federer rolls on as Dimitrov departs Miami|
|Pique calls for respect after Catalonia friendly|
|Lozano ´absolutely ready´ for big transfer amid United links – Martino|
|It would be an honour to coach LeBron and Lakers, admits Kidd|
|De Ligt: We´ll see where I end up|
|Pelicans owner Benson denies team could move to Seattle|
|Eagles ´working toward´ extension for QB Wentz – Roseman|
|Gruden: Carr won´t leave Raiders|
|Ronaldo upbeat over Euro 2020 chances despite back-to-back draws|
|France players had a lot of fun in Iceland rout – Deschamps|
|Day & Mickelson headline star-studded group, Tiger seeking fourth title|
|Ronaldo expects to return within two weeks|
|Sterling demands UEFA makes an example of Montenegro after alleged racist abuse|
|We are equal – Hudson-Odoi slams ´monkey´ chants|
25 de marzo 2019
|Barkley hails England´s character after resounding win|
|Federer sails through to fourth round in Miami|
|Southgate ´definitely heard´ racist chants aimed at Rose|
|Under-fire Ashwin defends Buttler ´Mankad´|
|Portugal 1 Serbia 1: Ronaldo injured as Group B favourites draw again|
|Montenegro 1 England 5: Barkley stars as rampant Three Lions hit five again|
|France 4 Iceland 0: Mbappe on target as Les Bleus maintain perfect start|
|Argentina boss Scaloni has no doubts over Messi´s Copa America involvlement|
|Injured Andreescu retires in Miami to put Kontaveit through|
|Mbappe takes Benzema´s France record|
|Ronaldo goes off injured in Portugal´s clash with Serbia|
|A lack of goals? Spain average more than Barca – Luis Enrique|
|Mancini warns Italy that Liechtenstein match could be ´dangerous´|
|Bears and Packers to kick off 100th NFL season|
|Godin proud to make Uruguay history|
|Ashwin ´Mankads´ fuming Buttler to set up Kings XI win|
|Rice, Hudson-Odoi handed first England starts in Montenegro|
|Gronkowski agent leaves door open for return|
|Wolff braced for Ferrari response in Bahrain|
|WWE, films or partying - What next for Gronkowski following retirement?|
|MLB 2019 preview: Five storylines to watch|
|Banega glad to see Monchi back at Sevilla|
|All Blacks captain Read to make Crusaders return|
|Chelsea transfer ban appeal hearing set for April|
|Argentina expect Messi to do everything - Valdano|
|MLB 2019 preview: Five bold predictions for the upcoming season|
|Brain injury charity questions concussion protocol after Schar injury|
|Phelan hoping to continue dual role with United and Mariners|
|Cooley handed Australia coaching role for Ashes|
|Neymar will inspire like Pele, Zico, Romario - father|
|Joelinton committed to Hoffenheim amid Newcastle, Leipzig links|
|SpongeBob, WWE & dancing in the mirror - The best of retiring Gronkowski´s quotes|
|Neymar in PSG contract talks, says father|
|Schalke and USA midfielder McKennie ruptures ankle ligament|
|Thailand 0 Uruguay 4: Vecino helps seal China Cup title|
|Alisson missing Brazil but feels at home at Liverpool|
|Charnley called up to England performance squad|
|Kante focused on Chelsea amid Madrid links|
|Mourinho: Zidane the right man for Real Madrid|
|Skerritt elected president of Cricket West Indies|
|Nike bow out with patchwork Manchester City ´celebration´ shirt|
|Alli believes England can be the best in the world|
|Curry: Surreal that Warriors have won 50 games again|
|LeBron won´t ´cheat the game´ even with Lakers out of playoff contention|
|Inter play better with Lautaro, says Pirlo|
|Zorc knows nothing of United interest in Sancho|
|Not in a million years! - Hornets´ Lamb in disbelief over game-winner|
|Sterling has qualities to be England captain - Southgate|
|Morocco frustrated by Messi´s friendly absence|
|The Australia ball-tampering scandal one year on: Have the batsmen filled the Smith-Warner void?|
|Giants owner: Beckham trade left grandsons crying|
|McGee explains Lakers´ mentality after playoff elimination|