Why Nigeria lost to Argentina

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Sergio Batista, the former Argentina World Cup winning player who coached his country to beat Nigeria 1-0 in the men’s soccer gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics on Saturday has said he studied the Nigerian side very well.

He said winning the Olympic gold was very important as they had achieved what they did in the Under-20 World Cup by winning back-to-back.

To achieve his objective, he said, the Argentine coaching crew got the video tapes of all Nigeria’s matches in the tournament and had a complete knowledge of the Nigerian side.

Angel di Maria’s 58th minute strike after he collected a through ball from Lionel Messi gave the 2004 winners the gold and leave Nigeria, the champions in 1996, the silver. Brazil won the bronze on Friday by beating Belgium 3-0 in Shanghai.

He pointed at Osaze Odemwingie and Obinna Nsofor as two Nigerian players they felt could ruin their aspirations.

Batista, who won the FIFA World Cup with Argentina and was also in the squad that lost to West Germany at Italia’90, said he anticipated a difficult game.

“I knew the Nigeria often built their attacks from the midfield and that the players were also physically strong.”

Coupled with the knowledge that the temperature was going to be high, Batista instructed his players to do less running to conserve energy. “I told them to allow the ball to do the running.”

He, however, commended the Nigerian team saying that the players have a great future. Panapress.

Beijing Olympics 2008  The 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China takes place between August 8 and 24. This dossier focuses on the hopes, aspirations, and achievements of athletes from the African continent.
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