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Nigeria heading for World Cup last 16, Iran loses out to Messi

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Nigeria's goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama makes a save in the match against Bosnia Reuters/Suhaib Salem

On day 10 of the World Cup we learned that Iran are capable of holding Argentina at bay, Nigerian journalists can't forget Boko Haram and Nigerian players have a chance of qualifying for the last 16.


Nigeria don’t have to feel so bad. After their 0-0 draw against Iran in their opening Group F game, Nigeria were feeling a tiny bit deflated. Naturally the team got lashed by the press back home and fans weren’t too happy either. So when Iran were holding off Argentina on day 10, that hopefully would have caused some introspection. Argentina finally won courtesy of a Lionel Messi wonderstrike. But it was in stoppage time.

Nigerian journalists pay tribute to victims of bomb attacks. They may have it in for

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the team when they’re not conquering all before them but Nigerian reporters covering the match against Bosnia decided to spare a thought for those back home. Around 30 of them wore T-shirts protesting against the Boko Haram group. The shirts carried the slogan: “World unites against Boko Haram”. On Tuesday a bomb exploded in Yobe state killing 21 people who were watching the Brazil v Mexico match. A further 10 people died on Saturday in raids by suspected Boko Haram gunmen near villages where more than 200 girls were abducted in April. "We felt it was important to wear these T-shirts," said one journalist Steven Alabi Akimjidi. "We would feel comfortable wearing these back home but not in the region where Boko Haram operate." Kind of logical.

When your luck’s not in, it’s not in.
Midway through the first half of Bosnia v Nigeria Edin Djeko managed to get clean through on goal and he buried the ball past the onrushing Vincent Enyeama. The linesman said it was offside. TV replays showed no such thing. Later in the half Emmanuel Emenike and the Bosnian skipper Emir Spahic jostled for a ball down the Nigerian right wing, Spahic seemed to block Emenike’s path but the Nigerian just steamrollered over him. The Bosnians looked to the linesman for help, he did nothing, Emenike cut the ball back and Peter Odemwinge slotted in.

When your luck’s in, it’s in. Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi dropped the Liverpool winger Victor Moses to the bench and installed Peter Odemwinge. The ploy paid off as he coolly converted Emmanuel Emenike’s pass for Nigeria’s first goal of the tournament. Odemwinge was also voted man of the match for helping to inspire Nigeria’s first win at the World Cup since 1998. More importantly it puts them second in Group F behind Argentina and in a good position to qualify for the last 16.

Oh that Vincent, he’s a one. Back at the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2013, Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama came up with one of the best lines we’d heard for ages. After referee Grisha Ghead pointed to the spot following Eddy Onazi’s manhandling of Zambia’s Emmanuel Mayuka six minutes from time, Enyeama lamented, “It was the worst decision in the history of football.” Enyeama’s opposite number Kennedy Mweene stepped up and languidly dispatched the ball high into the net. No luck that night. But it was dripping all over Enyeama on day 10 during the game against Bosnia. First of all, Enyeama was well beaten when Edin Djeko was sent clear midway through the first half. For some reason the linesman ruled Djeko offside. The Bosnian later said the referee had stolen the game from his side. In stoppage time, Djeko’s goalbound shot hit Enyeama’s flailing leg spun into the air, hit the post and was cleared by a Nigerian defender. Enyeama’s take? “Leg of God.”