Argentina, Nigeria Advance to World Cup's 2nd Round

Argentina and Nigeria are advancing to the World Cup's so-called knockout round in Brazil after Iran fizzled against Bosnia-Herzegovina with a 3-1 loss.

Wednesday's Argentina vs. Nigeria match was action-packed from the start, with Argentinian captain Lionel Messi and Nigeria's Ahmed Musa scoring in the first five minutes of play. The two would each score again before a goal off Argentina's Marcos Rojo's knee remained unanswered for a 3-2 finish.

Iran finished last in Group F with one point.

In Group E, France is in first place with six points. Though it is not yet assured of a spot in the next round as it faces Ecuador in Rio de Janeiro, its goal differential is six higher than Ecuador and eight higher than Switzerland.

Argentinas Lionel Messi (left) celebrates with teammates Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo after scoring against Nigeria during their 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre on June 25, 2014. /AP Argentina's Lionel Messi (left) celebrates with teammates Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo after scoring against Nigeria during their 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre on June 25, 2014. /AP

It would take a big win by Ecuador, and then a blowout victory by Switzerland in its game against Honduras, to send France home.

Pool play closes Thursday with Group G and Group H playing their final matches.

Greece earned its first-ever spot in the second round on Tuesday, as Giorgios Samaras converted a penalty kick one minute into stoppage time to give Greece a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast.

Colombia, which on Tuesday eliminated Japan 4-1 in Cuiaba, finished first in Group C with nine points, followed by Greece with four, Ivory Coast with three and Japan with one.

Uruguay also advanced to the round of 16 Tuesday by eliminating four-time champion Italy, 1-0.

The game was marred by controversy, as television replays showed Uruguay's Luis Suarez appearing to bite Italy's Giorgio Chiellini in the shoulder. Football's governing body, FIFA, has opened disciplinary proceedings against Suarez, who has been suspended twice before for biting opposing players.

In Tuesday's other Group D match, Costa Rica and England played to a scoreless draw in Belo Horizonte. Costa Rica had already clinched first place in the group after upsetting Uruguay and Italy.

VOA News / Jun. 26, 2014 07:59 KST

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