Messi backed by Sampaoli to deliver for Argentina when it matters most
Jun 26 2018 by Dustin Murphy
They will want to bow out with something to their names.
"I hope we can have a better performance against Nigeria on Tuesday because it will be sad to leave the World Cup now". Leaving aside the difference in where we finished eventually, I look at the fact that despite landing in a spot twice, we came out fighting and crossed the group hurdle.
"The opposite would be to harm the team, we must seek the collective benefit, we are 23, also those of the squad".
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.
"Sterling, Kane, Vardy, Stones and the like have given them another touch, it's not about getting in the other half and putting the ball in the box, they want to play, to have the ball".
But Argentina have been a mess so far. "They know, they recall very well what the coach said".
Six Croatian players - Ivan Rakitic, Ante Rebic, Sime Vrsaljko, Mario Mandzukic, Marcelo Brozovic and Vedran Corluka - are one booking away from being suspended for the last 16 and some of them are likely to be rested against Iceland.
"Messi was exceptional under me at that tournament", he added. If Argentina and Iceland both win, Argentina has to win by a bigger margin to advance.
"We think we're going to win all the games, and even if we lose we think we're going to win the next one".
But he has played for Argentina 126 times.
"I'm not going to stop believing in them".
While Iceland boss Heimir Hallgrimsson claimed the men Dalic picks in the absence of the stars will be motivated to prove themselves, the decision has incurred the displeasure of the other two teams fighting to progress to the knockout stages. "Look at the whooping they gave South Korea", she said with a smile. Manager Juan Carlos Osorio has developed a different gameplan for each of his opponents. Xhaka and Shaqiri could be banned for up to two games if they are found to have breached Federation Internationale de Football Association regulations.
Argentina are clinging to the hope their captain bails them out again.
A lot was made about Southgate's decision to play Kyle Walker as the right sided center back in his 3-1-4-2 formation but no one is talking about that anymore after two wins.
This was never more evident then in their first game against Tunisia. The African side was composed, fast and strong in front of goal and the defense held together well.