Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli went with a formation consisting of four at the back against Iceland, but chose to change that to three at the back as they took on Croatia. Although Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr is a fan of the five-time world player of the year, he has no sympathy for Messi's plight Tuesday. "Everyone wants to win and no one can make any gifts, even if we like him so much". Sampaoli is the third coach since the 2014 World Cup, which Argentina finished as runner-up. It's part of a disappointing worldwide run in which Messi's only medal with Argentina came 10 years ago at the Summer Olympics.
And Maradona, who managed Argentina at the 2010 World Cup and was in attendance as they fell to defeat on Thursday, says he would "love to hold a meeting" with the current team and invite former players to inspire the struggling side.
Lionel Messi and Argentina hit the training ground on Saturday with renewed hope of qualifying for the World Cup last 16.
The five-time Ballon d'Or victor initially brought his global duty to a brief halt in 2016, before earning a call up months later to guide Argentina to the 2018 World Cup. Had he scored, his side would have halved their deficit to Nigeria, putting them on the comeback trail or, at the very least, improving their goal difference.
"We've played Croatia four times in four years, we've often said we're like a married couple - we're trying to get divorced, but we always meet up again", the Iceland coach said at a recent media conference.
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"But obviously I think we must work together".
"You can not say that he and Portugal have shown great combinations or tiki-taka football to score great goals". Nigeria beat Iceland 2-0 on Friday, blowing the group wide open and allowing Messi and Co. another shot at staying in the competition, with a do-or-die clash with the Super Eagles looming.
"It is the most critical situation I have experienced, along with the Ecuador game", said Argentina midfielder Lucas Biglia on Sunday. They'll play in two blocks of four, sometimes often having all ten men behind the ball. Mexico placed one foot in the World Cup's last 16 and left South Korea on the brink of elimination after goals from Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela clinched a 2-1 victory in Rostov.
Disappointed Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov said it was better to lose heavily now than in future games but added: "Psychologically we are well prepared for the next games".
Will Argentina get the result they need on Tuesday night?