In their quest to reach the knockout phase of the 2014 World Cup, Nigeria had quite a scary moment, as Michel Babatunde had to leave the match against Argentina with what appeared to be a broken arm.
From the Nigeria Super Eagles on Twitter:
DosComentaristas passed along the following Vine of the incident in question (a fair warning that the following images aren't pretty):
And T.J. Quinn of ESPN asked what we were all thinking:
Did that ball just break Babatunde's arm on the fly?— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) June 25, 2014
Following the match, coach Stephen Keshi spoke on Babatunde's status (via Frederick Gyan-Mante of AfricanSoccer.Weebly.com):
Asked whether Babatunde might play again in Brazil, coach Stephen Keshi said: "We will see how it goes, but it's not good." #NGA— Fredrick Gyan-Mante (@Freddie_GH) June 25, 2014
After not featuring in the opening draw against Iran, Babatunde has started the past two matches for Nigeria and played quite well. Against Bosnia-Herzegovina he earned a 7.2 match rating from WhoScored, with a 90 percent pass accuracy, two shots, a dribble won and three tackles.
Against Argentina, he was credited with an assist on Ahmed Musa's fourth-minute goal. He completed 88 percent of his passes and made two tackles, per WhoScored. Once again, he was a positive force for the Super Eagles.
Nigeria have looked much more vibrant on the attack with Babatunde in the starting lineup, so his potential loss in the knockout phase is a big one. The Nigerians will likely be facing France in the Round of 16, so losing Babatunde's presence in the midfield will be a tough blow to overcome.
The hope will be that his arm is not broken and he can return for Nigeria. His creative playmaking and ability to help fuel the attack will be needed as Nigeria aim to be more than one-and-done in the knockout phase.