Most times, a rivalry is usually between two sides of equal strength who want to show who is better, or stronger, or who just want the bragging rights - for example, Real Madrid v Barcelona, Liverpool v Manchester United, the Milan derby, etc. It could also be between two unequal sides - for example, the Merseyside derby. However, there are also international rivalries as well.
We would be doing an analysis on this, taking a look at most of the games between these sides at all football levels. Nigeria v Argentina has become a constant fixture at the world cup - meeting at six different world cups. In total, both sides have met 9 times, with Argentina winning 6 times, Nigeria 2 times, and 1 draw between them.
The 1994 world cup.
The 1994 world cup was Nigeria's first appearance at the tournament. With both countries in the same group during the competition - Group D.
Samson Siasia put Nigeria ahead in the 8th minute of the game. Argentina would however stage a comeback, after a brace from Claudio Caniggia’s in the 21st and 28th minutes condemned Nigeria to its first World Cup defeat.
Nigeria qualified from the group, having beat Bulgaria 3-0 in the first game and then thumping Greece 2-0 in the last match.
2002 world cup
The 2002 world cup was one of Nigeria's worst performances at the world cup, with Nigeria being unable to make it out of the group - finishing bottom.
The Group F fixture saw both sides square up against each other, in the opening game of the group. A goal from the Argentine striker, Gabriel Batistuta in the 63rd minute, saw Argentina come out winners.
2010 world cup
After missing out on the 2006 world cup, Nigeria qualified for the 2010 world cup hosted in South Africa - the first-ever world cup finals being hosted in Africa.
Once again, both countries were grouped together - in Group B alongside Greece and South Korea. As has been the story in the past, the Super Eagles lost the match by 1-0 after a header from Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze, in the 6th minute, from a corner.
2014 world cup
The 2014 world cup was another fixture that saw Nigeria face off against Argentina in the group stage. Unlike other fixtures, however, fans were treated to a spectacle, as the game had a lot of goals and chances for both sides.
Argentina took the lead courtesy of Lionel Messi in the 3rd minute. Nigeria would however respond through forward, Ahmed Musa equalized a minute later.
Messi struck again with an excellent freekick from almost 25 yards, just before the end of the first half. Once again, Musa would level the scoreline in the 47th minute to make it 2-2.
The game would however be decided by Marcos Rojo who headed home in the 50th minute - a goal that proved to be the winner.
2018 world cup
Both sides faced off in the last game of the group stage in what was a decider - with Nigeria needing a draw to go through, and Argentina needed to win to qualify to the round of 16.
Argentina took the lead, courtesy of Lionel Messi, who finished off his goal after a fine first touch. Nigeria would equalize from the penalty spot through Victor Moses.
The game was however won by Argentina by the man who scored the winner in 2014 - Marcos Rojo, who found himself in some space and put the ball in the back of the net late on, to see Argentina qualify.
Asides from the world cup, both sides have also squared off at the Confederations cup in 1995, which ended goalless. Nigeria's two wins have come in friendly games - the first which ended 4-1 in Abuja, and the other which ended 4-2 (just before the 2018 world cup).
In terms of other age-grade competitions, both teams have met at the Olympics final twice - in 1996 and 2008.
Nigeria won 1996 final, which was quite a shock to many, but also not so surprising, as they had defeated Brazil in the semi-finals.
In 2008, a winner from Argentine, Angel Di Maria, was enough to crown the South American champions of the Olympics football tournament.
In 2003, Nigeria faced Argentina in a group stage game at the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Finland. After a goalless first half., Faurlín scored the only goal in the 59th minute to take all three points. It was the third group stage game as Nigeria crashed out and Argentina progressed to the knockout stages.
At the U-20 level, the game most Nigerians will never forget, two goals from Lionel Messi saw Argentina come away with a 2-1 win in the final. Both Messi's goals came from the penalty spot, with the second proving to be the winner, after Chinedu Ogbuke had equalized for Nigeria.
Proper analysis of the fixtures has shown one thing - this really isn't a rivalry, and if it is, it's one-sided, as most of the crucial wins have been in favor of Argentina, with Nigeria only finding solace in friendly wins.
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