A late strike by defender Marco Rojo gave Argentina a hard-fought 2-1 win over gallant Nigeria to end the Super Eagles World Cup quest in Russia.
In a match played before a full house in St. Petersburg, Lionel Messi arrowed a spectacular shot in the 10th minute that beat keeper Francis Uzoho.
That goal gave Argentina total control of the game as they dominated the Eagles who looked shell-shocked.
Messi and Di Maria were at the heart of everything, as they took the fight to Nigeria.
Goal keeper Francis Uzoho twice thwarted the Argentines, first denying Higuain a certain goal when put one-on-one in the 29th minute; then stopped Messi from having a brace by tipping his free kick to the post on 35 minutes.
In the second half Rohr threw in Odion Ighalo for an ineffective Kelechi Iheanacho and on 51 minutes Nigeria got a penalty for a foul on Leon Balogun by Javier Mascherano.
Victor Moses slotted home to make it one-a-piece.
From then on it was a ding-dong affair; and Nigeria could have won it after the referee called for a VAR review after what appeared to be a hand ball.
The Eagles should have won this match by closing out the game, but Argentina poured forward.
And on 86 minutes, Argentina won the game from the unlikeliest of sources as defender Marco Rojo met a cross from the left and buried the ball in the low left corner past keeper Uzoho.
Argentina have picked the second position from Group D, with Croatia picking the top spot.
A sad day for Nigeria.