Video: Marcos Rojo scores dramatic late winner to keep Argentina’s World Cup alive

by Leo Nieboer

Marcos Rojo rose to the status of national hero with a dramatic late winner against Nigeria on Tuesday night, keeping Argentina’s World Cup hopes alive and sending an entire nation into euphoric rapture.

Jorge Sampaoli’s team, plagued by infighting and fear and total tactical dysfunction, were on the verge of exiting the finals at the group phase following Victor Moses’ penalty which brought the game level early in the second half.

La Albiceleste needed something, anything. Lionel Messi had wonderfully stuck them into the lead earlier on but had disappeared in the second half. Gonzalo Higuain, the serial bottler, had duly bottled a glorious chance late on. Paolo Dybala wasn’t even on the pitch. Angel di Maria had long since been withdrawn. Sergio Aguero was anonymous. Who, then, would provide deliverance for Argentina?

Step forward, Marcos Rojo.

This has been a World Cup packed with late winners and the dizzying heights of elation only possible during the greatest show on earth, but all of that pales in comparison with the explosion of relief and joy and sheer emotion Rojo’s goal – a fantastic volley – brought to Argentina, and especially Diego Maradona, who literally collapsed later on from all the drama (definitely not because of anything else, definitely not – it’s all very legal and wholesome in Diego’s box).

Rojo could retire tomorrow and be an Argentina legend forever, such was the importance of that sweet, sweet strike.

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