Published: Tue, June 26, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter

Argentina's Lionel Messi looks 'stressed and unhappy' - Pablo Zabaleta

Argentina's Lionel Messi looks 'stressed and unhappy' - Pablo Zabaleta

Iceland have the ability to progress, too; if Argentina and Nigeria draw, and the European underdogs beat Croatia by three clear goals, they will progress.

The South Americans are on the verge of a group-stage exit in Russian Federation after a shock 1-1 draw with Iceland and a thumping 3-0 defeat to Croatia.

"This team has lost the past three finals they have played - the 2014 World Cup, and the Copa America in 2015 and 2016".

Nigeria did Argentina a big favour when they beat Iceland in their last match, giving La Albiceleste hope of turning things around and escaping their group.

Former Argentina global Pablo Zabaleta is concerned by how "stressed and unhappy" Lionel Messi has appeared at the 2018 World Cup. "We've often said we're like a married couple".

Such is France's strength in depth, even with wholesale changes they should be able to field a strong team capable of rivalling Denmark's, and their squad players will be eager to stake a claim for a place when Les Bleus play in the knockout stages.

One of many cats to have lived at the Hermitage, once the imperial Winter Palace, Achilles previously predicted outcomes during the 2017 Confederations Cup. But no doubt the talking point will be Messi before, during and after tonight's final round of games in Group D. Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Messi and Argentina as they battle for survival. Messi, after missing penalty kick that would have won Argentina's opening game against Iceland, took just a single shot in a blowout loss to Croatia.

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"I get the feeling there's a general anger at the heart of the team", said Argentina's legendary 1986 World Cup-winning captain Diego Maradona.

"That will be our main goal, to make it Messi's last World Cup game", Nigeria defender Bryan Idowu said.

"It will be a tough game and we must go with a tough mentality from the start to the end".

It was also reported that Sergio Aguero, the scorer of Argentina's only goal in the tournament so far, would be dropped for the all-important Nigeria match after the suupposed "coup" against Sampaoli had failed.

Croatia need a point to guarantee top spot, although they could still finish first even if they lose to Iceland.

"As his team-mate, I can say without any doubts that we have always been a better team when he has been there".

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