Monday, June 07, 2010

Argentina vs. Nigeria - 1994: A Look Back

We are just a few days away from our first kick off against Nigeria in Johannesburg, so I was thinking what better match to look back than the same fixture that first took place in the World Cup in Massachusetts sixteen years ago.

I’m not sure just how many times did Argentina played against Nigeria prior to 1994, but I can tell you since then both sides have played have developed a friendly rivalry (though heated but not intense), many of which coming from youth level .

Before let’s rewind the clock back to that day on the 25th of June that year.

As you all know coming into the World Cup, we did not enjoy a great qualifying campaign and to some critics there were still doubt about our chances in America. However if you look deeper at Coco BASILE’s line up, you will realize that we did had a strong team.

Diego MARADONA was already 33 years old but still had the magic touch to inspire everyone. Up front, Claudio CANIGGIA was back in the team to form a deadly partnership alongside Gabriel BATISTUTA (that’s a mouth watering combo we had back then). Behind him, Diego SIMEONE and Fernando REDONDO form a solid partnership in midfield. At the back, we had world class defenders with the likes of Oscar RUGGERI and Nestor SENSINI. On top of that, we were also the Copa America holders.

Nigeria on the other hand despite making their World Cup debut were the new Kings of Africa. They too had a strong team featuring the likes of George FINIDI, Sunday OLISEH, Daniel AMOKACHI, Emmanuel AMUNIKE and the upcoming superstar Jay Jay OKOCHA.

There was a strong build up towards this game. While we brushed aside Greece 4-0 in our first match, the Super Eagles were in high confidence after their surprise 3-0 win over Bulgaria. Coincidently, playing against an African side, most people that I knew were hopping for a repeat of Italia 90 against Cameroon.

For a moment, it was the case when Samson SIASIA caught Luis ISLAS off his line and chipped the ball over him to give Nigeria the lead.

Not too long later, Argentina were back on level terms when Peter RUFAI was unable to hold on to the ball from a BATISTUTA free kick and CANIGGIA was on that right place to score from the rebound.

Few minutes later, the defining moment of the match. Diego’s picked out just one more trick out of his pocket when cleverly took a quick free kick and slid the ball towards CANIGGIA from the left side. El Pajaro could do no wrong as he fired past RUFAI into the top corner to give Argentina the lead.

Argentina held on to win this match and right after that there was a sense of believe that we had what it takes to go all the way but of course we all know what happened after that.

Though we may not necessarily view this as a classic match but no one knew just how significant that day turned out to be; the day which we will forever remember seeing Diego wearing the Albiceleste shirt ( in a competitive match) for the last time.

Now coming back to present time, ironically Diego is back in the World Cup, this time as the National Team's manager to face Nigeria once again. Not to forget, his assistant Alejandro MANCUSO also took part in that game as a second half substitute.


Max said...

well I looked up the head-to-head comparison between Argentina and Nigeria and I found this on the FIFA website:

We played them only 3 times, with 2 wins and one draw. Apparently they tried to simulate the match against us by taking on Colombia. They only managed to get a draw.

With John Obi Mikel unfortunately out of the cup, i guess, relying only on statistics, that we should win this one. But still, never underestimate the African squads...

andaman said...

Lots of pics from the 2 trainning days that open to public.

Anonymous said...








Forza_albicelestes said...

Those were the days....

Diego Cannigia Batigol.....

All playing together...
Enuff said

lz said...

Anonymous, what is wrong with you?
What about that comment above from you --yet again going waco about everything-- “God destroy the Satan America”? Are you kidding us? This is about Argentinean football. You should seriously control your misplaced rants or take them somewhere else: it really affect the quality of the blog readers‘ experience --subjected to your continuous bombardment of nonsense, and your absolute lack of sense of community and minimum camaraderie.

Serve this message as an appeal to the blog owners, and the rest of us who care about it, to keep it clean from these destructive and angry “contributions” which miss the whole point and the very heart of this blog. Thanks to all.

Anonymous said...



why was a convicted coke user allowed into usa wen a drug conviction even posesion of a spliff stops you entering the usa

why did diego get in so the usa could use him in there BS set up

it was more to do with fidal castro than non existent druig cocktails from hollywood

he had slight traces of ephedrine clearly used to clence hiom of coke and loose weght BEFORE THE WC not during they turned it into a fantasy cocktail for hype

Anonymous said...

I agree with Iz, this anonymous clown's rants are really affecting the quality of the blog. Lance the boil and the blog is healthy again.

VamosArg said...

pase de Diego y golazo de Cani
que buen recuerdo
i hated that nurse

Sebastian said...

Just came across this wonderful series of World Cup-related pieces of graphic design that blew my mind.

Check them out. WARNING: You will spend a long time looking at all of them. Don't tell me I didn't warn you!

lz said...

Wow, the link Seba posted about graphics in his previous post is "the ultimate procrastination tool" (as he said, consider yourselves warned). Beautiful.

On a different front, thank you so much for your explanation about the hooligans in the other post. I haven't lived in Argentina for a long time, so I was appalled to learn about the extent and ramifications of this problem ('metastasis,' one could say following your 'cancer' metaphor). I didn't have the slightest idea about today's convoluted and surrealistic 'hooliganpolitik' in Argentina. After I read your reply I run a search and came across the following article, which precisely expands on what you so neatly explained, with pictures and all. For anyone wishing to get in a dark mood (I feel obliged to offer the warning):,1

Well, after so much gang darkness, back to the aforementioned colorful graphics discovered by Sebastian to lighten the mood-- i.e. back to procrastinating, ha!

Saludos to all,

P.S. Sebastian, about my birth town and your birthday comment in the other post--> 25 de Mayo?! That's a "revolutionary" coincidence. What are the odds? Happy belated birthday, then. Also, I have a question for you (should you read this): Is your nickname Seba or Sebas? If the former, you are the first "Sebastian / Seba" that I hear of. Or I just caught your nickname from some misspelled post somewhere else?

Alex Camacho said...

Argentina: Tango and futbol

Sebastian said...

Will read your link later, Luc.

My nickname changes from country to country and also depending on how people are related to me.

Example: In the English speaking world I'm 'Seb'.

When I went to China I realise it was difficult for them to pronounce my entire name so I told them it was OK for them to call me 'Sebi' (like my mum use to call me when I was little).

In Brazil they call me: 'Sebá'.

And then most of my friends call me 'Seba' and some, like you asked, call me 'Sebas'.

But paraphrasing a great quote from the movie Snatch: "You can call me Susan if it makes you happy!"

lz said...

"But paraphrasing a great quote from the movie Snatch: "You can call me Susan if it makes you happy!"

ha ha. I understand. I just wanted to make sure I was not offending anyone. 'Seba' kind of hurt my ears (needed that 's' at the end!). Then again, the letters following my 'Luc' are hard to pronounce for most of my English-speaking and Asian friends (who have trouble rolling 'R's), so I can relate. That's precisely how 'Luc' was 'assigned' to me (like your 'Seb'). Tx for the clarification, Seb-Seba-Sebas-'Susan' ;-) Now we know we needn't be nervous if we misspell your nickname!

I am posting another link someone sent me today, this time on the "light" side. Enjoy, everybody. Our fan base is broad!

"Sports News"
MALAPPURAM (by ANI) - A soccer fan from Kerala has painted his three-wheeled auto rickshaw in the blue and white stripes of the Argentina flag and offers free ride to those who support the Latin American team.

Anonymous said...

CANIGGIA yelling DIEGO DIEGO! Was great.

Mike said...

I'm dying for a podcast here boys.

Alex Camacho said...

I've always heard it as Seba, like Juan Sebastian Veron's nickname, and never heard Sebas before, so I guess it depends where you are from in and out of Argentina.

Happer said...

Seba, it's two days since the last update about what's going on in the training camp. I know it's not appropriate to demand you make posts everyday, but I've been keeping refreshing this blog once per half an hour for the last 2 days, lol. Have you heard anything new recently?

Did Maradona come up with a final decision about the starting line-up in the first coming match yet? I'm a little bit worried 'cuz if he just keeps mixing the line-up, the players may not be completely familiar with all their teammates in the real game... Also, we should have specific strategies when it comes to free-kicks, corner, etc.

One thing that I noticed in the last training section is that Messi seems to get all the ball and control the midfield. I mean everybody keeps passing the ball, playing 1-2 with him. Even Veron rarely holds the ball for too long. Personally I like this idea, as Maradona said, "we have more chance of winning if the ball goes through Messi". For example, many times in the matches between Barca and Inter I saw Pedro and Alves have the ball on the right side and Messi usually moved backward, waiting for a pass so he can have a shot immediately; he could easily scored (like the way I usually play PES, it's always easier to pass the ball backward and bum, you got a goal! haha) had Pedro and Alves done so, but they crossed the ball to nowhere instead... I see Messi is not the best with the ball, but also among the bests without the ball (how many times you see him being offside - in comparison with Henry & Ibra?)

What do you guys think about it?

Hiep from Vietnam.

Sebastian said...

We love being demanded of creating new posts, Hiep! I mean it.

There were no updates because the team had a day off yesterday and didn't work on anything tactical or physical.

I should have reported this, though!

The players are training now and they are showing some bits on TyC Sports and PALERMO just scored a fantastic goal!

Will report more in a new post later today.

Lopez,India said...

Thanks Seba .. Waiting for your upcoming post ..please post it soonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...god bless u

Sebastian said...

New post is up! Hope you didn't take any medication to fight the anxiety! It's not good for your health!

Plus...if you're this anxious even before we play, I don't want to imagine how you will be on Saturday!

Do as my son Felipe does. Try and sleep 17 or 18 hours a day! That should help the clock tick faster! hahahaha!

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