Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr has revealed that striker Kelechi Iheanacho shouldn't have started the Super Eagles' match against Argentina on Tuesday due to the Leicester City forward's fitness.
Former Manchester City star Iheanacho laboured through the first half in Saint Petersburg where he showed signs of sluggishness and fatigue throughout. The 21-year-old was eventually hooked by manager Rohr at half time and he was replaced by Odion Ighalo.
The head coach also added that another of Leicester City's Nigerian contingent, Ahmed Musa, refused to be substituted earlier in the second half. The 25-year-old was eventually taken off to give Crotone forward Simeon Tochukwu Nwankwo a cameo appearance at the World Cup.
"If I had seen what happened in the first half, perhaps I would not have started with the same team because one of my players was not really fit and he went out at half-time," Rohr said, quoted by the Leicester Mercury. "But you never can know.
"It’s possible one player in the starting 11 is not fit, we have to accept that and make the change.
"I wanted to bring out Ahmed Musa but he said he wanted to stay and was fit to finish the match, we were waiting for the end of the match to make two other changes, everybody did well, nobody had to go out."
Nigeria appeared to be on the brink of causing an upset when Victor Moses cancelled out Lionel Messi's opening goal from the penalty spot. But defender Marcus Rojo snatched a late win for Argentina with a well-taken volley, booking La Albiceleste's place in the Last 16 of the World Cup.