Nigeria pull off a massive win to elevate their chances of progression
2018 WORLD CUP - FOCUS ON AFRICA
Live reporting by Joseph Kizza
So, let me leave this one here.
I will be back tomorrow for a *tricky Belgium v Tunisia Group G clash. Can the Eagles of Carthage engineer a massive win against their more illustrious European opponents?
Lose and they are out.
* From an African point of view
8:05pm: Africa springs back to life
Nigeria would have been the third African nation to be eliminated had they been beaten by Iceland tonight. Egypt and Morocco are already out - despite each having one group game left to play.
It means Nigeria, Tunisia (who play Saturday) and Senegal are still in the thick of the competition.
8:03pm: Nigeria's fate in own hands
The Super Eagles have their fate safely wrapped under their wings.
Following tonight's victory that floats them up to second on the Group D table, after leaders Croatia, the Nigerians need to pick up a positive result against Argentina in their final group match to progress to the last 16.
FULL TIME: Nigeria 2 Iceland 0
FULL TIME - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0
And indeed it is the last dollop of action.
The final whistle goes and the Nigerian camp limps in triumph.
The Super Eagles are soaring way above the clouds now.
What an entertaining game!
90min (+6): CHANCE! - Nigeria
Can Nigeria add gloss to this one with a third?
Brace scorer Ahmed Musa has the ball in the box, but is under pressure. There is plenty of space to cut the ball in before the rest of the Iceland defense fumble back in.
The resulting effort by a marauding Nigerian is, however, blocked. This could just be the last piece of action.
90min (+3): OUCH! - Mikel Obi
Nigerian captain John Obi Mikel is injured - he is clasping his left hand in seemingly excrutiating pain.
The Nigerian substitutes are done and so the Super Eagles will have to see out this game one man short, as their captain is helped off the pitch.
90min: SIX MINUTES OF ADDED TIME
Had Sigurðsson successfully converted that penalty a few minutes ago, we would have witnessed a whole different complexion to this tie.
Still, it remains an entertaining spectacle as the official signals six minutes of added time.
87min: Nigeria 2 Iceland 0
This has been, without any doubt, an enthralling game of football.
Such effervescence in the crowd. Such liveliness!
Three minutes to full time.
83min: MISSED PENALTY! - Iceland
Oh my word!
What a miss by Gylfi Sigurðsson!
The Iceland man blasts the effort into the clouds to send shudders down the spines of the Iceland supporters and wild celebrations among the Super Eagles faithful.
What a finale!
81min: PENALTY GIVEN - Iceland
And after spending some moment in private with the VAR, referee Matt Conger after what seems ages (in anxious terms) emerges, draws the box symbol in the air to illustrate that he has consulted with the VAR, before pointing to the spot.
Penalty to Iceland!
This could be a turning point of this entertaining game.
80min: VAR CONSULTED - PENALTY?
Once again, Video-Assisted Refereeing comes into play in this game.
There appears to have been a foul on Iceland's Gylfi Sigurðsson by a Nigerian defender. At first, the referee waves away any protests for a penalty, but then bows to the pressure and decides to consult the VAR.
Nervy moment for the Iceland fans - and the Nigerian camp in equal measure.
73min: HITS CROSSBAR!
I told you Nigeria are in cruising mode. This time, Ahmed Musa releases a shot from the edge of the box that goes whistling dangerously goalwards until it crashes off the crossbar and back into play.
Victor Moses returns the ball but it is not good enough.
65min: Nigeria very much awake!
Nigeria enjoyed much of the first-half ball possession, but they have now slapped on the afterburners, making dangerous runs into the Iceland box.
60min: THE GOAL - DID YOU MISS IT?
Here it is . . .
56min: CLOSE! - Nigeria
That was so close!
Nigeria have surely burst into life now. We are seeing a new-look Super Eagles going forward from the one we witnessed in the opening stanza that appeared more interested in keeping the ball than making something out of it.
Wilfred Ndidi's rasping shot again draws the Iceland keeper into a fine save.
50min: PAUSE - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0
So there was something in that early second half pressure by Nigeria.
But while the Nigerian camp celebrated their priceless goal a little while ago, there were worrying faces in the Iceland camp.
Defender Ragnar Sigurðsson is the victim, and there is blood gushing out of his head as he is being attended to on the pitch. A stretcher is on standby.
Replays show that he got a knock from goalscorer Musa as the Nigerian trotted off to celebrate his first goal in two matches at this tournament.
Play is brought to a considerably long halt as the Iceland defender has a pink bandage wrapped around his injured head. Looks like the orange stretcher won't be needed afterall!
46min: CLOSE! - Nigeria
And Nigeria are out of the blocks first.
Oghenekaro Etebo bursts into the Iceland scene to give keeper Hannes Halldórsson his first real test in the game. But the custodian is in the right shape physically and mentally to save the effort.
Good start from the Super Eagles.
KICKOFF! - Second half
We are underway for another 45 minutes on the Volgograd turf.
Iceland, wearing blue, get the ball in motion.
Nigeria 0 Iceland 0.
6:56pm: HALF TIME - The stats
Nigeria has seen more of the ball. In the opening half, ball possession has been Nigeria 60% v Iceland 40%.
The Super Eagles managed 78% passing accuracy against Iceland's 66%.
One worrying statistic is that the Africans have not had any effort on target.
HALF TIME - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0
So, 45 minutes of action have no impact on the scoreline.
Not a great deal of talking points either.
44min: CLOSE! - Iceland
That was a well-taken free-kick by Gylfi Sigurðsson!
The Everton man whips the ball from near the edge of the box. The effort manages to evade everyone - even his heavily-marked teammate Alfreð Finnbogason, who tries to stretch but he just won't get there.
Well, you cannot blame 19-year-old Nigerian goalie Uzoho for throwing his hands in the air in fury. That was poor defending from his human wall.
40min: Iceland on the run
Iceland are having more efforts at goal.
Their opponents may have more of the goal, but the Icelanders have had more efforts on goal.
37min: Nigeria 0 Iceland 0
Freekick for the Super Eagles - who continue to edge Iceland in the ball possession department - after Hörður Björgvin Magnússon fouls Victor Moses.
Kelechi Iheanacho will take this one. But it is a poor take - headed out of play by Birkir Sævarsson.
Nigeria are lacking the quality needed in dead-ball situations.
35min: Four efforts for Iceland
Iceland have managed four efforts towards goal. Two of them have been on target.
Nigerian keeper Francis Uzoho has done an impressive job so far.
His side, however, have not had any shot on target.
32min: Musa furious
Nigeria's Ahmed Musa throws a fit of rage towards the referee when the New Zealand official awards Iceland a freekick after the Nigerian nudges Sigurðsson after losing possession in the Iceland box.
We are a little over the half-hour mark and neither net has been troubled - yet.
26min: Untidy passing
In all honesty, neither side can keep the ball for a considerable amount of time. If you are used to watching the Spaniards play, you will be a little bit frustrated watching this game.
Nonetheless, the crowd is in full voice.
22min: OUCH! - Victor Moses
That surely hurt!
Sverrir Ingi Ingason is on the end of a spill by goalkeeper Uzoho inside the Nigerian box. The Iceland man hits the ball first-time towards the goal, but Victor Moses is in the way - the effort sending him crashing on the floor, writhing in agony, hands cupped around 'the area'.
Did it hit 'the area'? Maybe, maybe not.
18min: Ball possession: Nigeria have edge
As we approach the midway point of this opening half, Nigeria are enjoying more of the ball.
They have 59% of the ball versus Iceland's 41%.
But for all that superiority in possession, the Super Eagles are doing more defending than attacking.
15min: Nigeria 0 Iceland 0
It is settling into an even-poised tie.
12min: Nigeria 0 Iceland 0
Nigeria have started to see more of the ball. A foul by Rúrik Gíslason on Oghenekaro Etebo sets Rohr Gehnot's side on the course of a ball possession spell they have not enjoyed in the opening period of this game.
Clean one-two touches brighten the Super Eagles' play.
08min: Lively atmosphere
The Iceland supporters know just how to rally their team on. They are in full voice, and their players haven't had a bad start either. Belief is high after they held a Lionel Messi-led Argentina to a 1-1 draw in their opening match.
06min: CLOSE! - Iceland
The Super Eagles have not settled into this game - yet.
The west Africans again allow their opponents to break through, and again it is Sigurðsson in the mix of things - happy to brew trouble in the unsettled Nigerian back.
03min: Nigeria 0 Iceland 0
A bright start from Iceland. They push forward but hit a dead end - though an early challenge earns them a freekick about 30 yards out.
Gylfi Sigurðsson stands over the dead ball, moments before blasting the ball goalwards but it is tame enough for Nigerian keeper Francis Uzoho to punch it out for a corner.
Everton FC man Sigurðsson swings it in but it is cleared out of danger.
KICKOFF - First half underway
Referee Matt Conger of New Zealand blows his whistle to life and it is game on!
Nigeria, who make three changes to the side that was beaten by Croatia in their opener, get the ball rolling.
Oh, and by the way, all this is under the keen eye of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who is watching from the lush VIP section.
5:55pm: The table - before kickoff
Here is a quick glance at the Group D standings with only a few minutes before kickoff at a very lively Volgograd Stadium.
5:50pm: Hello everyone!
Good evening ladies and gentlemen!
In a short while, we shall have the kickoff of Group D's Nigeria v Iceland at the Volgograd Arena.
Defeat for Nigeria means they will be eliminated - with one match to spare.