Faced with the threat of elimination, Lionel Messi finally found the net early in the first half and an 86 minute stunner by defender Marcos Rojo may have saved Argentina the blushes. It's a team that will play the match with a lot of heart.
"I dream of an Argentina that plays with passion but also dominates with the football", he said.More news: Rudy doubt for Germany with broken nose
It will come as some relief as well to Jorge Sampaoli, who was under enormous pressure, especially after rumours surfaced surrounding his relationship with Messi.
By his own high standards, Messi has been way below his usual level in Argentina's first two matches.
The former Chile and Sevilla coach survived, but still there are suggestions he will not be allowed to retain his post after the World Cup.
"They have very fast players who can really make a difference".More news: US Supreme Court upholds Trump's travel ban
After drawing their opener with Iceland and being hammered 3-0 by Croatia in their second outing, a late victor from Manchester United's Marcos Rojo was enough for them to see off Nigeria 2-1 and seal their qualification for the knockout stage.
"He has a special ability to see the game that is only possible for a genius and a lot of the time it is hard to be at the level of a genius like him".
It was his pinpoint ball over the top from midfield to pick out Messi that led to Argentina's opener in the 14th minute and he bailed out the hapless 34-year-old Mascherano, who looks well past his prime, on more than one occasion.
France moved through to the next round after beating Australia and Peru.More news: Harley, stung by tariffs, shifts some production overseas
"Africa is going to be successful one day but we need to think again how we approach these big competitions", he told the BBC in his role as a TV pundit. Santos will be demanding more from his players after they struggled to beat Morocco and only managed to draw with Iran in their last two games.
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