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Can Lionel Messi save Argentina at the 2018 World Cup?

26 June, 2018, 19:56 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Defiant Sampaoli hits back at 'criminal' critics

Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and 2010 winners Spain progressed from Group B in dramatic fashion on Monday, joining host nation Russian Federation and Uruguay in the next round but technology grabbed centre stage.

Argentina still has a chance to finish second in Group D at the World Cup despite a draw to Iceland and a awful loss to Croatia on Thursday.

In Saransk, Ronaldo was at the heart of a series of VAR incidents.

"Beyond the fact that I have the team in my head, I do not want to confirm it because I have not yet communicated it to the players", Sampaoli added.

Here's what can happen for Argentina and the others. However, the name of Lionel Messi remains absent.

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Messi, 31, is yet to score or provide an assist at the showpiece event, while he had a penalty saved during a 1-1 draw with Iceland.

The maths is simple: if Argentina beat Nigeria and Iceland fail to win against Group D leaders Croatia, they will go through to the last 16. Croatia won 2-0 in Zagreb, while Iceland were victorious in Reykjavik (1-0) and went on to win the group, whereas Croatia qualified via the play-offs.

Argentina's struggles in Russian Federation come after their pre-tournament preparations were wrecked by controversy and poor form, coupled with a reliance on a top-heavy, limited squad.

"Having three players at Rostov will be good for our support and that makes a difference, as we saw when we beat Croatia at home. We have our own style of play and we are going to stick to it while being watchful on their long balls and set pieces", Dalic said.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, 1998 champions France take on Denmark in Moscow with top spot in Group C up for grabs. Only victory would give the country hope of progressing to the knockout stages of the tournament.

Musa marks return with winning double as Nigeria beat Iceland
Nigeria are at their best in open space, and they will likely try to play for those openings, employing a lower defensive line. Russian Federation certainly seems to bring the best out of Musa, who has played much of his club football for CSKA Moscow.

"We know everything about Iceland and they know everything about us".

"As his team-mate, I can say without any doubts that we have always been a better team when he has been there. I am convinced that the team is going to win tomorrow".

"We do not change how we prepare because of what is happening outside".

Holders Germany will be missing two backroom staff for Wednesday's crunch clash with South Korea, the pair stood down for provoking Sweden's bench in Saturday's dramatic encounter in Sochi.

Messi led Argentina to the World Cup final four years ago and consecutive Copa America finals in the following two years, but all three ended in defeat.

After lineup photographed, England urges media to help team
England will face Panama in their second group game in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday. He said: "It's a bit of fun for the World Cup ". England are a bit more direct than Belgium.

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