Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli denies reports of rebellion ahead of Nigeria clash

Jo Caldwell
June 26, 2018

"I never thought about it, but that'll be our main goal - to make it Messi's last World Cup game", he said. Croatia will face Iceland while Argentina does battle with Nigeria.

In addition to Nigeria vs. Argentina, the 2018 World Cup games today are: Denmark vs. France, Australia vs. Peru, and Iceland vs. Croatia.

But Nigeria can qualify with a draw or win against Argentina if Iceland lose or draw against Croatia, and coach Gernot Rohr was ruthless when asked about ending Lionel Messi's World Cup campaign, which could potentially be his last.

Thankfully for Messi and his team-mates, that is precisely what tends to happen when Argentina face Nigeria.

Ahmed Musa's brilliant brace against Iceland means the Nigeria winger is in prime form to reprise his role from this mini-classic that decided top spot in the group four years ago. A point will see the Green Falcons qualifying to the Round of 16 for the second year in a row unless Iceland defeats Croatia by a goal margin of more than 2.

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"Sometimes I do have to enter into that virtual world to deal with facts and realities that can't be changed, such as Argentina not winning against Croatia".

Can Federico Fazio tighten a haphazard Argentina defence in their game against Nigeria?

This situation is very similar to when Argentina was going into the last round of World Cup qualifying needing a result to make it to Russian Federation, and in that match, Messi produced a hat-trick to secure their berth.

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Failure to beat the Africans will prolong Lionel Messi's wait to win an global trophy, with the added humiliation of bowing out at the group stages without even winning a game. Argentina might need an emphatic victory to guarantee safe passage to the next round, but that cause is only going to be helped by a water-tight defence, especially with Fazio in it.

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He said, 'Whenever I play against Argentina, or whenever Messi is playing against me, I score.

In their hour of need, Argentina need Messi's best once more.

"In the first two games we committed two stupid penalties, which more experienced players would not make". Both men were involved when Argentina edged Nigeria 3-2 in Porto Alegre at the last World Cup.

Argentina are clinging to the hope their captain bails them out again. Their struggles have been well documented, their confidence is low, and yet they are still alive going into their match against Nigeria.

"We have to play the game with a lot of heart, and a lot of mental strength, to make things safe for us".

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