Messi's Argentina have shot at World Cup redemption

Messi's Argentina have shot at World Cup redemption

Croatia are already through to the last 16 after wins against Nigeria and Argentina.

Argentina are on the brink of failing to reach the knockout stages after goals by Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in Yekaterinburg left the two-time winners third in Group D with just one point from two games.

Manchester City ace Sergio Aguero cut short an interview after Argentina's shock World Cup defeat to Croatia. When his teammates witness his reaction after a setback, they infer he's lost faith the team, in them.

Instead, defeat by Germany set in motion four years of chaos in the global set-up that has brought one of the great footballing nations to its knees and leaves the South Americans staring at a ignominious early exit in Russian Federation.

Brozovic is also suspended for the final group game.

Lionel Messi is frustrated and desperate to turn Argentina's World Cup around, according to Javier Mascherano.

Nigeria did Argentina a big favour when they beat Iceland in their last match, giving La Albiceleste hope of turning things around and escaping their group. The talent is all there, but there must be a solid strategy in place and Lionel Messi must perform at the level he is capable of playing at.

The two sides know each other very well and being pitted against each other in qualifying for this World Cup.

Without the five-time Ballon d'Or victor, though, it is highly unlikely Argentina would even have qualified.

"I think that match was complicated for Leo, the structure of the game did not favor him", Sampaoli told reporters during a pre-match press conference in Saint Petersburg.

"I took responsibility for the defeat (against Croatia) and I am totally confident that we are going to win tomorrow and secure the victory", Sampaoli said.

Messi may be struggling to inspire his side in Russian Federation but it was the Barcelona star who who netted Argentina's first spot-kick of a semi-final shootout against Netherlands.

"I get the feeling there's a general anger at the heart of the team", said Argentina's legendary 1986 World Cup-winning captain Diego Maradona.

Even if Iceland claims its first-ever World Cup victory, Argentina could still progress on goal difference. Messi will touch the ball a lot more.

"That loss (in the qualifiers in June 2017) meant that we had to go through the playoffs and even if it is a new situation, it's a nice way to settle the score", said Dalic.

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