It's hard to predict opponents like Nigeria says Sampaoli

Posted June 26, 2018

"I asked him to play [for another club] so he would have the rhythm of the matches".

Argentina were the title-holders and in a tight contest, 1-0, they retained their gold medal.

All six of the victories by Nigeria has come up against European opponents and they are yet to win against a non-European opponent.

Reports claim Lionel Messi and Co demanded the head of the former Chile boss - and wanted the Argentine FA to replace him with general manager and 1986 World Cup victor Jorge Barruchaga.

However, Ahmed Musa's two-goal heroics against Iceland sets Group D up evenly poised. "Argentina's World Cup starts tomorrow".

'Four years ago I scored two goals.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Mendy's France are also in action today, facing Denmark in their Group C finale (3pm United Kingdom time).

That is the theory, anyway. A point would be enough if Iceland do not beat Croatia.

Sampaoli is believed to be plotting changes to the side which capitulated 3-0 against Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod, Argentina's heaviest group stage defeat since 1958.

Brazil vs. Costa Rica - Football Match Report
As the minutes ticked toward the end of regulation, Costa Rica , disciplined and organised in a five-man back line, held firm. Tite said he thought his superstar's tears were down to the huge pressure of leading the five-times world champions.

4 - Number of FIFA World Cup victories Argentina have achieved against Nigeria.

It was skipper Lionel Messi - often derided for his below-par performance with the national side - who came to the rescue with a hat-trick in the 3-1 win in the South American qualifiers. Argentina is placed last on the Group D table and knows that only a win against Nigeria will take them to the next round of the competition.

The crunch meeting saw the 23 squad demand a showdown at the team hotel with Sampaoli, his coaching staff and Argentine FA President Claudio Tapia. But the African flagbearers are not a team to be easily brow-beaten, and have adopted an "Argentina Must Fall" motto since flaying Iceland in Volgograd. It happened in 1994, it happened in 2002, it happened in 2010, it happened in 2014 and it's happened again in Russian Federation. The Argentines have been less than impressive in Russian Federation having drawn 1-1 with Iceland - with Lionel Messi missing a penalty - and losing 3-0 to Croatia in their second match.

Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega could be recalled to the starting XI, while Gonzalo Higuain and Paolo Dybala are also available.

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.

BUT. there is another team playing tonight too!

Joint pre-tournament favourites with Germany before the tournament kicked off, Brazil haven't had the best time in Russian Federation either.

Time, Mascherano admitted, is something several of his teammates are running out of. "The manager made us believe we could do it and that's why we did it", Ogu said. "This is the last chance for many of us".

It already has nailed plenty of 2018 World Cup picks already, including a draw between Australia and Denmark (+265), Senegal (+220) knocking off Poland, and Iran defeating Morocco at +275, just to name a few.