Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi strikes a free-kick past Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. Reuters

A brilliant free-kick from Lionel Messi gave Argentina the lead over Nigeria right before half-time and continued a fine World Cup for the Barcelona star. In the first-half injury time in Porto Alegre, Messi curled a free-kick from 30 yards with expert precision past Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and into the top corner of the net.

The goal was his fourth of the tournament and second of the match. Messi had already put Argentina in front inside just three minutes with a rasping shot into the roof of the net after Angel di Maria’s shot had hit the post.

Nigeria quickly drew level, but Messi’s majestic strike keeps Argentina well on course to get the point they need to secure the top spot in Group F.

Messi has already scored the winner in both of Argentina’s first two games, against Bosnia-Herzegovina and then Iran. Under much scrutiny to see if he would deliver on the World Cup stage for Argentina as he has so often for Barcelona in recent years, the man four time World Player of the Year is emphatically answering those doubts so far.