Marcos Rojo emerged as the shock saviour as his stunning late volley sent Argentina through to World Cup 2018’s round of 16 at Nigeria’s expense thanks to a 2-1 win.
La Albiceleste’s tortured spell in Russia saw them come into the Group D-showdown at Saint Petersburg Stadium needing victory to stand any hope of avoiding just a second-ever group-stage elimination.
Lionel Messi’s stupendous control of Ever Banega’s superb chipped pass and expert finish into the top corner in the 14th minute appeared to offer salvation.
But the Super Eagles started the stronger in the second half and drew level on 51 minutes when Victor Moses calmly stroked home a penalty after Javier Mascherano’s pull on Leon Balogun.
This result was enough, at that stage, to see them advance for the second successive edition.
Argentina toiled from this moment and didn’t register another attempt on goal until the 80th minute.
Then the unlikely figure of center-back Rojo stormed onto Gabriel Mercado’s cross and found the bottom corner in the 86th minute to spark scenes of unmitigated joy.
Argentina will now face France in the round of 16.