Messi's Argentina have shot at World Cup redemption

Rúrik Gíslason playing the Iceland Nigeria match on Friday

Even though he's helped Argentina reach three consecutive finals - at the 2014 World Cup and the Copa America in 2015 and 2016 - Messi remains under intense scrutiny in his homeland for his performances with the national team.

Messi and Argentina are in a must-win situation, they have to get maximum points to jump over Nigeria for second spot in Group D, if they get the win and Iceland does not beat Croatia in their final game, the South American side will play on in Russian Federation.

Maradona was seen to be extremely frustrated in the closing minutes of their latest game as he watched his side get picked apart by goals from Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

Alba has defended Messi, who is still searching for his first senior trophy with Argentina.

Ahmed Musa, Super Eagles two goals hero in Nigeria's defeat of Iceland at Volgograd, on Friday said the game against Argentina will be a tough one for the opponents.

Argentine daily sports magazine Ole published a picture revealing Sampaoli's starting X1 against Nigeria at their training base in Bronnitsy on Saturday.

Argentina´s forward Lionel Messi (C) practices during a training session at the team´s base camp in Bronnitsy, on June 23, 2018, during Russian Federation 2018 World Cup.

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For Argentina, River Plate goalkeeper Franco Armani is likely to replace the error-prone Willy Caballero in goal and Jorge Sampaoli, criticised for his regular tactical tinkering, might opt to play with a two-man frontline with Juventus pair Gonzalo Higuain and Paolo Dybala operating ahead of Messi in a 4-3-1-2 formation.

According to the Mirror's Simon Mullock, following Argentina's 3-0 humiliation at the hands of Croatia, several players asked Claudio Tapia-president of the Argentinian Football Association-for manager Sampaoli to be relieved of his duties or allow them a say in picking the team.

Brazil legend Kaka has given his thoughts on why we have not seen the best of FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at the 2018 FIFA World Cup so far.

"His body language was completely the opposite before the Croatia game".

"We need to figure out how I would fit on the team because, as you said, I used to play in the same position he plays and lately I have been used to playing in that position". But against a resurgent Nigeria - who in November beat Argentina 4-2 in Krasnodar - they face a hard task.

"If he had the ball less than usual it's because Argentina didn't dominate the match as we did against Iceland".

At last year's Confederations Cup, he was spot on in three predictions, and a fourth was void because he did not eat from any bowl and the match ended in a draw.

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