Published: Tue, June 26, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Mascherano reveals Leo Messi's mood in Argentina's World Cup camp

Mascherano reveals Leo Messi's mood in Argentina's World Cup camp

Messi missed a penalty against Iceland as Argentina drew 1-1 in their opening game in Russian Federation and then was then ineffective against Croatia as they were beaten 3-0 last Thursday.

It is all or nothing for Jorge Sampaoli's Argentina on Tuesday evening, with only a win being enough to get Argentina through to the next round, which will also only happen if Iceland fail to beat Croatia.

It promises to be a fascinating encounter as Argentina desperately need a victory to keep their World Cup dream alive, but will have a real challenge against the Super Eagles of Nigeria. It's put us in a spot where we depend on a result.

Defender Gabriel Heinze gave his side the flawless start on six minutes with a flying header, consigning Nigeria to defeat in their first World Cup match since 2002. There are no small or big players in a match.

Nigeria is now second in group D with three points behind Croatia with six points.

Against Iceland, Argentina became predictable for centring their tactics so overwhelmingly on Messi; against Croatia, Messi seemed bypassed much of time.

Overall at senior level, Nigeria and Argentina have met eight times - the most recent of which was in a friendly match in Krasnodar, Russia in November 2017.

The outcome soothed a little the bad memories of 12 years earlier, when on a dramatic, gripping afternoon in Georgia, USA, Nigeria had beaten Argentina 3-2 to take gold at the Atlanta Games.

Willy Caballero is expected to lose his place in the starting XI after gifting Croatia their opening goal in a 3-0 win on Thursday, and Sampaoli says he will not hesitate in dropping his experienced players. Even with a win over Nigeria, Argentina will potentially have to compete with Iceland on goal differential.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Mendy's France are also in action today, facing Denmark in their Group C finale (3pm United Kingdom time).

It turned out this fixture had not quite seen the last of Maradona, as he returned in the unlikely guise of Argentina head coach for the 2010 World Cup.

It's been reported by Simon Mullock of the Daily Mirror that Sergio Aguero will not start against Nigeria as he was one of several players who sought to have the manager sacked after the Croatia clash. I am convinced that the team will go out tomorrow with a lot of energy to win the game. "But for Argentina, there is pride at stake as they will want to show that they are better than Nigeria at the World Cup", he said.

Argentina and Iceland have one point each. If they can be the first team to defeat France at the 2018 World Cup, they can steal first in the group and force Les Bleus to go through as the runner-up.

Like this: