Win or bust for Iceland against familiar foe Croatia

Argentina team the worst in history says legend Ardiles

"From what I see in my players, I am convinced this will be the starting point for this national squad and I am going to cling to that thought that I am close to my players", Sampaoli said Monday, a day before the Nigeria game.

The best wishes, however, came amid turmoil embroiling Sampaoli and the squad, which is on the brink of elimination from the World Cup in Russian Federation.

Their first game showcased a big clash of styles when they played Iceland.

Croatia lost 1-0 to Iceland in a World Cup qualifier and had to go through the playoffs to reach the finals so they will be taking nothing for granted despite speculation that coach Zlatko Dalic could field a second-string team. Against Croatia, the FC Barcelona talisman was anonymous. Although Sampaoli did not reveal his line-up, he said he would change the team to get his talisman more involved. "It's up to our coach to prepare the team best to our advantage". They have to win.

Argentina players had held meetings at their base camp hours after a disastrous 3-0 loss to Croatia and asked for Sampaoli's immediate removal as manager, according to reports on Thursday night. ■ A draw may also be enough for Nigeria even if Iceland beat Croatia, depending on goal difference.

After already achieving their first objective, Croatia would likely bench some of their players against Iceland. "The question is not if it is the last World Cup for him or not, the question is for us to be qualified".

And they may have been granted a reprieve, from an unlikely source.

Defender Ragnar Sigurdsson is a doubt for the game after being forced off in the defeat to Nigeria with an injury.




Argentina's best bet is to score first and control the dynamic, forcing Nigeria to push forward and allowing Argentina to find Messi on the break. To make things worse, he also missed a penalty.

Currently, Argentina are facing an uphill task of qualifying for the next stage of the World Cup after registering dismal performances in their campaign. He then implored them to "play and have fun as usual".

From there it was all Zlatko Dalic's side, with Luka Modric thumping home a thunderous strike to make it two before Ivan Rakitic coolly slotted home to put the result beyond doubt.

"I think the match was complicated for Messi", Sampaoli said. I don't care what other teams are saying. He managed just seven Premier League starts in a year-and-a-half before returning to the Russian giants on loan last January.

"We know what kind of game it is going to be".

Elsewhere on Tuesday, 1998 champions France take on Denmark in Moscow with top spot in Group C up for grabs.

Nigeria beat Iceland 2-0 on Friday to revive their hopes of advancing into the knockout stages of the World Cup in Russian Federation, as striker Ahmed Musa dramatically marked his return to the team with two fine second-half goals.

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