Messi Shares the Spotlight
Messi Shares the Spotlight avatar

Groups E and F wrapped up today with France and Switzerland moving on to the knockout rounds from Group E while Argentina and Nigeria advanced from F.

Antonio Valencia was shown a straight red for this challenge. (Getty Images)

Antonio Valencia was shown a straight red for this challenge. (Getty Images)

A scoreless draw with France wasn’t good enough for Ecuador, who shot themselves in the foot when team captain Antonio Valencia drew a straight red card in the 50th minute for a hard foul.

Ecuador keeper Alexander Dominguez kept his country’s hopes alive with a series of strong saves when France’s attackers weren’t doing the job for him with their terrible shooting.

Xherdan Shaqiri (L) scored a hat-trick to guarantee Switzerland a place in the Final 16. (Getty Images)

Xherdan Shaqiri (L) scored a hat-trick to guarantee Switzerland a place in the Final 16. (Getty Images)

Ecuador needed to outperform Switzerland to advance, but the Swiss weren’t cooperating, in particular Xherdan Shaqiri, whose hat trick heroics against Honduras accounted for all of the games goals.

Honduras bowed out of the World Cup with zero points, while Switzerland moved on to face Argentina on July 1.

Messi goals once again baled them out but Argentina definitely looked vulnerable at the back. (Getty Images)

Messi goals once again baled them out but Argentina definitely looked vulnerable at the back. (Getty Images)

In a 3-2 win Argentina got a brace from Lionel Messi, who opened the scoring after only three minutes. Messi rebounded Angel Di Maria’s shot, for the opener, but Nigeria came right back with a goal just a minute later.

Ahmed Musa got the score and he would match Messi with a brace of his own. With the match even at 2-2, an unlikely goal scorer, and an unlikely goal broke the deadlock.

Defender Marcos Rios scored off a corner that hit off of his knee to beat the flummoxed Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. Enyeama had a fine game, but their was no way he could have predicted the flight of Argentina’s winning goal.

The result gave Argentina the top spot in Group F, with second place Nigeria moving on to face France on June 30th. the other Group F match was Iran versus already eliminated Bosnia-Herzegovina. Iran had a slim chance of advancing, but first time World Cup participants Bosnia-Herzegovina ended those hopes beating Iran 3-1.

Ahmed Musa was the star for Nigeria and helped make it out of the group stages.(Getty Images)

Ahmed Musa was the star for Nigeria and helped make it out of the group stages.(Getty Images)

The Group stages end tomorrow with Groups G and H in the spotlight. G are on at noon, and of course that means U.S vs Germany, and Portugal vs France.

Belgium top the group with six points and are assured of advancing, they play South Korea (one point). Algeria sit second in the group with 3 points and they will face Russia (one point).

Group E

 
Position Team Played GoalDifference Points
1 France 3 6 7
2 Switzerland 3 1 6
3 Ecuodor 3 0 4
4 Honduros 3 -7 0

Group F

 
Position Team Played GoalDifference Points
1 Argentina 3 3 9
2 Nigeria 3 0 4
3 Bos-Herce 3 0 3
4 Iran 3 -3 1

About Peter Nolan

Peter Nolan is a staff writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, covering MLS and other US leagues, He's GotSoccer's chief National Team Correspondent.
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