Argentina squeezed into the World Cup last 16 after Marcos Rojo’s fine late volley gave them a 2-1 win over Nigeria in St Petersburg.
With Nigeria heading through in Group D with four minutes remaining, the Manchester United defender popped up to convert Mercado’s cross and send Jorge Sampaoli’s side through in dramatic fashion.
Argentina will play France in last 16
- Argentina have qualified from the World Cup group stages for the fourth consecutive tournament (2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018).
- Argentina are unbeaten in their last 40 World Cup games when opening the scoring (W35 D5), since a 3-1 defeat against Germany in 1958.
- Messi’s first-half goal for Argentina ended a run of 662 minutes without a goal in the World Cup – his last goal came in June 2014, also against Nigeria.
- Messi (2006, 2014 and 2018) is the third Argentina player to have scored at three different World Cup tournaments, alongside Diego Maradona (1982, 1986 and 1994) and Gabriel Batistuta (1994, 1998 and 2002).