After Nigeria's victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina I wrote in my column that we should leave the details of this World Cup to the coaches and players involved.

I challenge anyone who is reading this now to say hand on heart they expected Ahmed Musa to be a sensational defensive block by Pablo Zabaleta away from scoring Nigeria's first ever hat-trick at the World Cup.

The CSKA Moscow forward has had his critics but his manager, Stephen Keshi, has always trusted in him and stuck by him.

To score twice in the same match that had Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and even Angel di Maria is not to be sniffed at. Both superb finishes too. Nothing scruffy or deflected.


The run and confidence to cut inside Zabaleta before bending a powerful shot just inside the far post was exceptional and really out of keeping with the forward's form since he became a regular at senior level.

Then after Messi's sublime free-kick ended the first half, Musa exchanged passes with Emmanuel Emenike and coolly planted it into the bottom corner. Take a bow son!

Argentina were already through but they paid Nigeria the highest of compliments - that is for all the Nigerians who have nothing but scorn for their national team - by wheeling out all their big guns from the start.

Coach Alejandro Sabella either wanted to make sure the side won and had confidence growing going into the knockout stages or was really worried that a weakened side might lose and then have to play a group winner in the next round.

On the evidence of play at the end I will go for the latter for without Messi on the pitch Argentina could so easily have lost to Nigeria.

The atmosphere inside the Porto Alegre stadium is something I had never experienced in my life before. The Argentine fans had taken over the city before the match; they were all over the stadium.

They were loud, they were vociferous and sang throughout the match. It was a proper away match for the Nigerian side but they gave a good account of themselves.

Skipper Joseph Yobo once again rolled back the years and marshalled his defence very well alongside Kenneth Omeruo. The Chelsea youngster is going to be some player in years to come.

Really nothing to say again about Messi, except that seeing him in the flesh for his national team one has to be grateful for the opportunity.

He never dives, which cannot be said of the disgraceful antics of Javier Mascherano in the heart of the Argentine midfield. It baffles the mind when a man who has made a career out of tackling and winning balls is so quick to go down even when there is minimal contact. Disgraceful.

Somewhere in his hotel room after the match Lazio's Ogenyi Onazi will sleep so deeply out of sheer exhaustion, owing to the mountain of work he had to put in as - again - John Obi Mikel just refused to burn energies for the cause.

In the media centre after each of Nigeria's group matches the questions journalists from Nigeria keep asking is why the Chelsea midfielder appears to carry on like he is doing Nigeria a favour.

Iran's comprehensive defeat by Bosnia and Herzegovina meant Nigeria went through as group runners-up to face France in Brasilia on Monday.

Once again this side has emulated the famous 1994 team and made it into the second round of a World Cup.

Last year before his team won the Afcon trophy, coach Keshi said to me in an interview that even if his team wins the tournament that there will be those who will not be happy and will still criticise him. He was right.

As this team has progressed to the next stage at the World Cup there are still many who are very critical of the team and they are right to hold their own views.

I'm sure this team can do a lot of better, but the nations of England, Spain, Italy and others would rather be in Nigeria's position right now.

France will be tough. They have been very good thus far. However, they do not have Lionel Messi.

The Eagles will now aim to soar even higher with their history-making manager.

By Calvin Onwuka
culled from supersport.com