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Sunday, 2 June, 2002, 07:59 GMT 08:59 UK
Onigbinde upbeat in defeat
Celestine Babayaro battles with Ariel Ortega
Nigeria battled well for most of the game
Nigeria boss Adegboye Onigbinde praised his team's efforts despite their 1-0 defeat to Argentina in the opening match of Group F.


"I was very much impressed with the performance of my boys," Onigbinde said.

"We were able to check the antics of the Argentine team."

Nigeria made Argentina work hard for their win, battling defensively and only going behind midway through the second half to a goal from Gabriel Batistuta.

However, going forward they lacked penetration and most of their goal attempts were weak long range efforts.

Onigbinde acknowledged that the Super Eagles had not had enough firepower to make a game of it.

Gabriel Batistuta scores for Argentina
Batistuta's goal made the difference
"The team as a whole played a good game but probably our attack was not strong enough, we should have been sharper but Kanu was injured early in the game," he said.

The Arsenal striker went off shortly after half time after being elbowed in his side and suffering bad bruising.

But Onigbinde remained upbeat about Nigeria's chances of progressing.

"Losing this first match will make us utterly motivated to work harder and our ambition now is to win the remaining two matches," he said.

"We've lost, but the standard of our game was good."


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Nigeria boss Adegboyega Onigbinde
"We now have a challenge to work harder"
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 SQUAD PROFILES
GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1




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