Nigeria's win over Iceland sets up showdown with Argentina
Ahmed Musa leads the way with pair of goals in 2-0 win
Ahmed Musa gave Nigeria its first win at this year's World Cup, and gave Argentina a gift.
Musa scored two second-half goals to help the Nigerians beat Iceland 2-0 Friday and move into second place in the group behind already-qualified Croatia.
Nigeria will face Argentina in its final group match on Tuesday in St. Petersburg. If Nigeria wins, it will advance to the round of 16. But if Argentina claims all three points, it can still advance depending on the result of the other match between Croatia and Iceland.
Musa, Nigeria's all-time leading World Cup scorer with four goals, gave his country the lead in the 49th minute after Victor Moses sprinted deep into the Iceland half and curled a cross to the near post. Musa deftly controlled the ball before slamming it past Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson on the half-volley.
Nigeria nearly doubled its lead on several occasions, but Musa made it happen in the 75th minute. He picked up the ball on the left side of the Iceland penalty area, mazed his way past Halldorsson and picked his spot in the Iceland goal.
"I have to thank my teammates and the coach who believed in me," Musa said. "We have to focus on the last game because that's more important than today's win."
Iceland had a chance to get one back but Gylfi Sigurdsson sent a penalty kick way over the Nigeria bar in the 83rd minute. The penalty was awarded after a video review showed that Alfred Finnbogason had been brought down by Tyronne Ebuehi.
Key to success
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr made some tactical changes for the match, and they worked.
As well as starting with Musa, he opted to play captain John Obi Mikel in a more defensive role in midfield. His presence helped to shore up the defence against Iceland's two-man forward line.
Rohr had come under pressure on the eve of the match to play Obi Mikel as a shield in front of the defence, the position he has played for much of his career, including at Chelsea. Rohr also played midfielder Victor Moses more defensively, too.
"If you change something you have to explain why," Rohr said, "and they have to do it with conviction and motivation."