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Last updated: June 25. 2014 11:06PM - 1918 Views
Associated Press



Argentina's Lionel Messi, left, is carried by his teammates Angel di Maria (7) and Marcos Rojo after scoring his team's first goal during the group F World Cup soccer match between Nigeria and Argentina at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Wednesday.
Argentina's Lionel Messi, left, is carried by his teammates Angel di Maria (7) and Marcos Rojo after scoring his team's first goal during the group F World Cup soccer match between Nigeria and Argentina at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Wednesday.
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PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Argentina beat Nigeria 3-2 in the last World Cup Group F match on Wednesday, with Lionel Messi and Ahmed Musa scoring two goals each before Marcos Rojo kneed in the winner.


Argentina topped the group and Nigeria also advanced despite the loss, becoming the first African team in the Round of 16 in Brazil.


Messi had his best match of the World Cup so far, scoring twice in the first half to boost his tournament total to four goals, and repeatedly cutting up Nigeria’s defense with dazzling runs and clever passes.


“We played against a team that wanted to play,” Messi said. “I think we saw a good Argentina. We need to continue on this path.”


The Argentina captain needed less than three minutes to finish Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama’s clean sheet in Brazil, slamming in the rebound after Angel Di Maria’s shot bounced off the post. Nigeria replied within a minute as Musa cut in from the left and beat Sergio Romero with a curling shot toward the far post.


Nearing halftime Messi tested Enyeama with a 25-meter free kick that the goalkeeper struggled to push to a corner. Having found his aim, Messi was ice cold when Nigeria gave up another free kick just moments later from a slightly shorter distance.


Switzerland 3, Honduras 0


MANAUS, Brazil — Xherdan Shaqiri scored all three goals Wednesday to put Switzerland into the second round of the World Cup with a lopsided victory over Honduras.


The Swiss will next face Lionel Messi and Argentina on Tuesday in Sao Paulo.


Shaqiri scored his first goal in the sixth minute, dribbling into a crowd of defenders and curling a shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar. In the 31st, he collected a pass from Josip Drmic after a defensive error and easily beat Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares.


Shaqiri completed his hat trick in the 71st. Drmic did well to beat Honduras defender Victor Bernardez on the left and pass to a charging Shaqiri, who one-timed his shot past a diving Valladares.


France o, Ecuador 0


RIO DE JANEIRO — France topped Group E despite being held to a scoreless draw by 10-man Ecuador.


Ecuador was reduced to 10 men after Antonio Valencia was shown a straight red card in the 50th minute for digging his studs into the leg of French defender Lucas Digne.


But Ecuador may feel upset that France center half Mamadou Sakho was not shown a red card in the eighth minute when he appeared to elbow Oswaldo Minda in the face during a France corner. Then, in a late incident off the ball, France forward Olivier Giroud jabbed his elbow in to Gabriel Achilier, who was standing behind him.


France coach Didier Deschamps made six changes to his starting lineup, knowing his side was all but assured of advancing.


Bosnia-Herzegovina 3, Iran 1


SALVADOR, Brazil — Bosnia-Herzegovina ended Iran’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stages from Group F, and registered its first World Cup win in the process.


The Bosnians, who were already out of contention, took a commanding 2-0 lead with goals from Edin Dzeko in the 23rd and Miralem Pjanic in the 53rd before Iran hit back in a desperate late bid to qualify for the second round.


Iran needed a win to have any chance of advancing. Iran coach Carlos Queiroz announced after the match that he wouldn’t be renewing his contract.


The Bosnians were already out of contention at their first World Cup following consecutive losses to Argentina and Nigeria.


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