The Super Eagles were just five minutes away from reaching the second round at the 2018 World Cup, but Marcos Rojo’s finish ensured Argentina progressed at Nigeria’s expense.
Leon Balogun has revealed fatigue and tiredness was to blame for Nigeria’s loss to Argentina at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Super Eagles faced La Albiceleste in their last group match, knowing a draw would be enough to seal progress into the round of 16.
Nigeria had lost to Croatia in the opening group game before beating Iceland in their second group game. Meanwhile, Argentia had only picked up just one point from their first two games following a 1-1 draw with Iceland, and a 3-0 loss to Croatia.
The clash between the two sides at St Petersburg that night was nicely set up for Nigeria as they only needed a draw.
But it was Jorge Sampaoli’s men that took the lead through a brilliant Lionel Messi finish. However, Victor Moses penalty restored parity for Nigeria.
At that moment, Super Eagles were on their way to the second round until Marcos Rojo’ struck a dagger into Nigerians heart five minutes from time with a beautiful strike.
It was a disappointing loss for Nigeria given they had a lot of chances to win the game. However, Balogun, who played for the entire duration of that encounter, believes fatigue cost the team on that fateful night.
Speaking in an Instagram chat with Funnybone, Balogun said: “We had them in the first half.” Messi had one brilliant moment. They came at us wave after wave of attack in the last 20 minutes.
We were tired and lost a bit of tactical discipline/structure. Etebo and Ndidi, especially Etebo, were phenomenal in that match, making a name for themselves.
“That was also one of the saddest days in my football life,” he added.