Who would have thought that five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi is quite good at football.
A weirdly large proportion of football fans seemed to have forgotten who they were dealing with after two underwhelming games against Iceland and Croatia.
Unfortunately for Nigeria, the Barcelona legend seems to have used the criticism as fuel to ignite Argentina’s World Cup campaign.
With the weight of a nation on his shoulders, Messi opened the scoring with a typically sublime finish.
Ever Banega deserves at least half the credit for a wonderful assist.
The Sevilla midfielder clipped a quaterback-esque pass over the top of the Nigerian defence and onto Messi’s thigh.
The 31-year-old then shifted it onto his unfavoured right foot before lashing it into the top corner.
Naturally, the vast number of South Americans inside the Saint-Petersburg Stadium lost their collective marbles.
Including a certain Diego Maradona, who seemed to be briefly possessed…
Maradona’s reaction is a good indicator of the release of tension and relief that Argentinians everywhere would have felt the moment the ball hit the back of the net.
He was lively before kick-off too..
The Croatia defeat left the two-time World champions facing a humiliating early exit.
But their main man, their all-time top-scorer, may have dug them out of trouble… just as he did in qualifying.
Never doubt the greatest.