Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Nigeria the 1st of 5 finals for Argentina, insists Sampaoli

Lionel Messi’s Argentina will face Nigeria in their final group game of FIFA World Cup 2018 on Tuesday Lionel Messi’s Argentina will face Nigeria in their final group game of FIFA World Cup 2018 on Tuesday
Jennie Wade | 26 June, 2018, 21:27

Unlike Argentina, Nigeria's switch to a back three paid off in their last game, a 2-0 win versus Iceland, and another victory would send them through. A resurgent Super Eagles could prove to be tricky opposition for an Argentina side facing infighting in their camp with manager Jorge Sampaoli's position threatened, and anything but a win would result in elimination.

The Eagles will be seeking to capitalise on the current unsettled state and dismal form of the Argentines to nick a first win over them at the World Cup and progress at the expense of the South Americans. And he will hope his showing against the Vikings help him tie down a starting spot on Tuesday.

After Argentina disappointed with their defending in their first two games at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Jorge Sampaoli has reportedly made a decision to ring in the changes for their third and probably the most crucial game in his managerial career.

"Sometimes, when you play for a draw, you get punched in the face late in the day".

The two-time winners have started the tournament poorly and now sit bottom of their group, having picked up just a single point from their opening two games.

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

Nigeria will be hoping to avoid defeat to Argentina to confirm their place in the round of sixteen for the fourth time in their history when they face the La Albiceleste in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday evening.

"We have to make our goal five games to reach the final - [Tuesday] will be the first final", Sampaoli said in a press conference.

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Goalkeeper Willy Caballero has had a nightmare tournament so far, in particular when he gave the ball away cheaply to allow Croatia to open the scoring in the second game and Sampaoli said he would not hesitate in dropping his experienced players.

"This is a different game from that of Iceland, so the tactics to be adopted by the coaches may be different".

The Eagles are most likely to stick with the more adventurous 3-5-2 when they attack, but quickly revert to a tighter defensive unit when they are defending their goal so as to keep at bay Argentina's deadly strike force.

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr: "I thought before this World Cup we were here to learn".

Lionel Messi ($12,000) - There's still time for Messi to right Argentina's ship just before it crashes into the rocks. Perhaps a draw can be enough for us but it's not sure.

ALSO READ: FIFA 2018 Points Table Messi's Argentina will be eliminated with a defeat or a tie.

- Which group stage World Cup matches still matter?

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