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Last chance saloon for Messi, Argentina

26 Juin 2018

They got embarrassed 3-0 by Croatia in their second game.

"This is the Croatian national squad, all my players are going to play the same way they played against Nigeria and Argentina".

However, if La Albiceleste and the Super Eagles draw in their game in Saint Petersburg, Iceland will progress to the last-16 if they beat Croatia by a two-goal margin and also score at least one more than any that Nigeria manage.

Without the five-time World Player of the Year, though, it is highly unlikely Argentina would even have qualified.

'He wants to show the world a different image to the one we've shown in the first two games'.

Iceland's older hands such as centre back Kari Arnasson will be keen to avenge the playoff defeat that saw the islanders miss out on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and they will have to call on their famous never-say-die spirit if they hope to advance. Messi also played for Argentina when it lost the Copa America final in 2007 - when he didn't shoulder much blame because of his youth - and in 2015 and 2016.

And Maradona, who managed Argentina at the 2010 World Cup and was in attendance as they fell to defeat on Thursday, says he would "love to hold a meeting" with the current team and invite former players to inspire the struggling side.

The five-time Ballon d'Or victor initially brought his worldwide duty to a brief halt in 2016, before earning a call up months later to guide Argentina to the 2018 World Cup. Messi scored twice when Argentina beat Nigeria 3-2 in the group stage four years ago.

"We know the scenario when we play Croatia, it's going to be a really tough game", coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said. Spain won the 2010 World Cup after losing to Switzerland in its first game. If Nigeria are winning - and thus knocking Iceland out - will they be able to keep from letting their heads get down?

While Sampaoli is under huge strain as he fights to save his reputation, Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr faces less pressure.

"We will ask Russian authorities to immediately detain them so they can be deported", the ministry said.

"We come to this match in a very delicate position", he said. Iceland's star player has been building up to the World Cup ever since he helped secure their qualification, and he even followed in Neymar's footsteps by managing his return from a late-season injury in order to be close to full fitness.

But he also acknowledged more is expected of the team and that they need to step up in almost every phase in order to have a chance of moving on.

Last chance saloon for Messi, Argentina