Lionel Messi’s scoring history against Nigeria dates back to the FIFA under 20 World Cup in 2005 when Argentina beat Nigeria to win the junior championship.
Since then, he has scored half of his senior World Cup goals against the West African country.
Here are the match facts after Messi scored against Nigeria yet again in a crucial encounter.
Messi ends drought against familiar foe – stats
- Lionel Messi’s first-half strike for Argentina ended a run of 662 minutes without a goal in the World Cup – his last was in June 2014, also against Nigeria.
- Messi (2006, 2014 and 2018) is the third Argentina player to have scored in three different World Cup tournaments, alongside Diego Maradona (1982, 1986 and 1994) and Gabriel Batistuta (1994, 1998 and 2002).
- He has scored 50% of his World Cup goals against Nigeria (three of six).
- Argentina’s opener in the 14th minute was the 100th goal scored at the 2018 World Cup.
- 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.
- Marcos Rojo’s goal was his second for Argentina at the World Cup, and his previous one also came against Nigeria – 1,462 days ago at the 2014 tournament.
- Nigeria have lost all six of their games against South American sides at the World Cup, with five of those coming at the hands of Argentina (in 1994, 2002, 2010, 2014 and 2018).
Argentina captain Lionel Messi: “We were confident we would win this game. It’s wonderful to have won it this way – it is a well-deserved joy.
“I thank all the people who are here, for all their sacrifice, and all those who are in Argentina who were always with us. The shirt of the national team is above all.”
Argentina centre-back Marcos Rojo: “We needed it, now the World Cup begins for us.
“Lionel Messi had told the guys he was going to score a goal more than ever. The goal is for my family and for this group that deserves it. Let’s go Argentina!”
Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel: “We did everything we could. In the second half we pushed and pushed. It just wasn’t to be. It’s a young team and in four years most of them will be ready for this tournament.
“I’m very proud of the boys and what we have achieved. I think we have done really well. We have to keep going.”