Sports

Messi on a mission as Argentina train with renewed hope

Messi on a mission as Argentina train with renewed hope”

His first goal against Iceland earned comparisons with Dennis Bergkamp's injury-time wonder goal for the Netherlands that knocked Argentina out of the 1998 World Cup quarter-finals. But we have excellent players, just as we did in 1998.

"But as a collective, where things don't go as we'd like, we all have our own frustrations".

The draw against Argentina was an upset, but Iceland then dropped the next game 2-0 to Nigeria.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has dismissed the concerns of Nigeria and Argentina as he prepares to rest key players in the Group D match against Iceland at the World Cup.

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"If he had the ball less than usual it's because Argentina didn't dominate the match as we did against Iceland". The South Americans are winless at the World Cup, Messi has yet to score a goal, and a victory against Nigeria won't guarantee a spot in the round of 16. He remains in charge but he needs his big players, notably Lionel Messi, to fire in this must win game in St Petersburg.

Those who think the team has a shot at winning the 2018 edition is taking into account Argentina's history, not its present-day situation.

Aguero was replaced by Higuain during the Croatia match having done very little, but Higuain suffered a similar problem as the team failed to create for him or get Lionel Messi on the ball in unsafe areas.

Maradona insisted he "would love" to meet the Argentina players before the critical Nigeria game - and suggested that several of his former teammates should join him for the meeting.

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Now Rohr has a chance to cement his reputation by leading the Super Eagles into the second round, likely at the expense of Sampaoli's job. Believe it or not, we are World Cup runners up and at some point we have to show that. "This is the Croatian national squad, all my players are going to play the same way they played against Nigeria and Argentina". "I was on the telephone to Vincent Kompany and he said to me "Listen, I'm with this kid and he really wants to speak to you".

Argentina players reported demanded talks with their manager and other officials after their embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Croatia last week.

"I'm not going to stop believing in them".

If Messi felt comfortable as an off-field leader - and a postgame spokesman for the team - he would have pulled himself together, shrugged off the setback, and said something like, "We'll bounce back from this". "They know, they recall very well what the coach said".

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