Argentina vs. Nigeria final score, recap: Lionel Messi, Marcos Rojo push Albiceleste to knockout stage

Argentina, a team that looked like it had no chance of moving on from the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, is back from the dead after securing a late 2-1 win over Nigeria, combined with a Croatia win over Iceland. Thanks to the two results, the South American giants finish second in Group D in what Lionel Messi and Argentina fans will remember as a small miracle. 

It wasn't a sharp showing from Argentina in a tournament where it has been very poor, but the team overcome a penalty kick equalizer from Nigeria to get a late winner from Marcos Rojo.

It all started with Messi, who silenced some critics with a gorgeous opener in the 14th minute:

But a silly tackle by Javier Mascherano, who grabbed his attacker inside the box, resulted in a VAR-confirmed penalty kick. Victor Moses had no trouble with it:

And then Argentina called in Cristian Pavon, Maxi Meza and Sergio Aguero off the bench for one final push. But it was Marcos Rojo, a defender, who got the winner with a lovely right-footed finish in the 87th minute:

Absolutely stunning. Three points on the last matchday to put Argentina through to the knockout stage. A round of 16 matchup against France on Saturday is next for Jorge Sampaoli's men. The loss sends Nigeria, and its amazing kits, home.

You can stream all the decisive World Cup matches on fuboTV (Try for free).

Relive commentary from Tuesday's Argentina vs. Nigeria match

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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