Argentina, Nigeria through to second round of World Cup

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Ahmed Musa celebrates scoring for Nigeria

Super Star: TOPSHOTS Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Nigeria
Super Star: TOPSHOTS
Argentina’s forward and captain Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Nigeria

A double from Lionel Messi a day after his 27th birthday inspired Argentina to a 3-2 win over African champions Nigeria and assured them of finishing top of Group F at the World Cup finals on Wednesday.

Nigeria’s defeat — their fourth in four meetings at the finals against Argentina — came with the considerable consolation that they still progressed to the second round as Iran lost 3-1 to Bosnia-Hercegovina in the other group game.

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Nigeria's forward Ahmed Musa celebrates scoring for Nigeria
Nigeria’s forward Ahmed Musa celebrates scoring for Nigeria

Messi’s double — including a sublime freekick — and Marcus Rojo’s goal saw the Argentinians to the three points while Ahmed Musa scored a brace for the Nigerians.

Argentina — who have not won the trophy since 1986 — will play the runners-up of Group E next Tuesday while Nigeria play the group winners, who will probably be France.