St. Petersburg, June 25: Lionel Messi’s Argentina, languishing at the bottom of their group, will know that anything less than a win against Nigeria will knock them out of the FIFA World Cup, when the two sides meet in a Group D clash here on Tuesday.
Nigeria beat Iceland 2-0 in their last game and will fancy their chances against a low-key Argentina, who suffered a shock 0-3 thrashing by Croatia.
The pair have met five times in six World Cups. A win against Argentina will guarantee Nigeria a place in the second round. A draw may also be enough even if Iceland beat already-qualified Croatia, depending on goal difference.
For Argentina, they must beat Nigeria and also hope Iceland do not win against Croatia, as that could send them home again depending on goal difference.
Messi and Co. will have to improve by leaps and bounds to harbour any chance on Tuesday.
Messi, who turned 31 on Sunday, has looked undercooked in both games, been largely crowded off the ball and his penalty miss against Iceland was horrible to say the least. Against Croatia, the FC Barcelona talisman was anonymous.
“The team is lost,” former Argentina international and Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said in a leaked audio.
“What’s happening to the team right now is what has happened to Argentina in these last four disgraceful years: anarchy, no leadership from the players, coaches or directors,” he added. IANS