It's hard to predict opponents like Nigeria says Sampaoli

Tyler Owen
June 26, 2018

Argentina must beat Nigeria and hope Iceland fail to beat Croatia in order to reach the knockout stage of the completion. Nigeria (four points) can top the group if they beat Argentina and Croatia lose to Ireland, as well as if Nigeria's goal difference improves ahead of Croatia.

Let's go through the four positions and look at some players to target at various price points.

"Leo is fine", insisted veteran midfielder Javier Mascherano, who knows Messi better than most having spent 8 years as his club teammate at Barcelona.

It has been an embarrassing World Cup for Argentina so far.

Heading into the match, two-time champions Argentina will aim to get back on track following their dismal 1-1 draw against debutants Iceland and subsequent 0-3 defeat at the hands of Croatia. Argentina's chances hang by a thread and unless Messi's own performances improve, he will likely retire from the global stage without being a world champion given that he will be 35 when the next World Cup comes around in four years.

The nightmare 3-0 defeat to Croatia may have spelled disaster for Argentina, but there is still a chance for Lionel Messi and Co to pick themselves up off the ropes and advance to the next round.

"We must overcome! I hope that after all the bad news, they find a way to make us smile today", he said.

Mile Jedinak’s trick, a ‘brutal robbery’ and England brilliance
He has now joined Gary Lineker in 1986 vs Poland and Geoff Hurst in 1966 vs West Germany in achieving this feat. England could afford to ease up and preserve energy but it cost the team first place on goal difference.

Argentina's do-or-die clash against Nigeria today can be a launch pad for the team in Russian Federation following a woeful start to the World Cup, insisted defiant coach Jorge Sampaoli.

If the players around him are struggling, Messi is likely to struggle too.

"That will be our main goal, to make it Messi's last World Cup game, " Idowu said. "We are not playing well and we take charge of the results".

However, Ahmed Musa's two-goal heroics against Iceland sets Group D up evenly poised.

"We know that this will be a hard battle", the German said. "Obviously he's proved it many times in the past and I think he will, this is the stage he loves". Russian Federation have already shown us how much a team can be lifted by their fans, so I hope that the fans really make some noise and back their side.

The team's German manager Gernot Rohr praised their "humility, solidarity and fighting spirit" so far in the tournament, believing his young squad has a good shot at victory over Argentina. But, his real test comes now, when he will need to put a masterclass performance against the 2014 World Cup runners-up Argentina and help his nation qualify for the next round by winning the game at all costs. But then we want to be prepared for on the pitch conditions, which is very important.

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