The Russia World Cup 2018, has been a torrid one for Argentina. Two days after his 31st birthday, Lionel Messi and co. will face Nigeria. Desperately hoping to salvage Argentina’s campaign, the match remains a highlight on the 13th day of WC. After two rounds of action in Group D, the 2014 runners-up are staring elimination in the face, having been held to a surprise 1-1 draw by debutants Iceland before capitulating to a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Croatia.
Fighting the odds
So much of the pre-tournament talk was whether Messi would finally experience international glory, as great rival Cristiano Ronaldo did with Portugal at Euro 2016. But a torrid start means Messi’s men have it all to do to simply make it to the first knockout stage. The Argentine have to defeat Nigeria in St Petersburg and hope Iceland do not manage likewise against already qualified Croatia. The fall-out from Thursday’s damaging loss has been colossal, with legendary 1986 World Cup winner Diego Maradona wading into the mess to criticise head coach Jorge Sampaoli and his methods. Apart from all the criticism, a news surfaced citing some inside trouble in the Argentine camp.
Players in focus
In their win against Iceland Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa, helped them secure a single goal. Having quite a good time and seeing comparisons made between himself and Messi, Super Eagles would bank upon him. Currently, he is the all-time leading scorer for Nigeria in World Cup, with four goals. On the other hand, All eyes would be fixed on Lionel Messi who recently turned 31. Accumulating criticism and some kind words alike, he would like to avoid any humiliation in what might be his last World Cup appearance.
The sympathy and fan support, roots up for Argentina but Nigeria are also pumped up after a win over Iceland. As for them, a draw would be enough as long as Iceland fail to beat Croatia. But William Troost-Ekong knows that writing off Messi could prove a fatal error. Fully aware of the opponent they are up against, Nigeria seems to be buckled up.