Eagles prepare for St. Petersburg’s cold ahead of clash with Argentina

Eagles prepare for St. Petersburg’s cold ahead of clash with Argentina

Eagles prepare for St. Petersburg’s cold ahead of clash with Argentina

The Manchester City striker has scored Argentina's only goal of the World Cup so far but manager Jorge Sampaoli is ready to make changes.

The Barcelona man scored the hat-trick which took the Albiceleste to the World Cup but Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr says they will not focus exclusively on him. It's put us in a spot where we depend on a result.

Number of times Nigeria have played South American opposition (Paraguay and Argentina), and clean-sheets kept (Greece and England) in their final group game at the FIFA World Cup. The reports have suggested the coach would not be in charge of Tuesday's match as the players would select the team themselves.

With Croatia on six points and a positive goal difference of five, they've all but mathematically secured the group winners status.

However, after drawing with Iceland and losing to Croatia, beating Nigeria is unlikely to be an easy task for Lionel Messi and Co. A draw may also be enough for Nigeria depending on the outcome of Iceland's match against Croatia.

Nigerian defender Brian Idowu admitted he would love Messi's shirt as a memento, but also wants to send Argentina packing.

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The outcome soothed a little the bad memories of 12 years earlier, when on a dramatic, gripping afternoon in Georgia, USA, Nigeria had beaten Argentina 3-2 to take gold at the Atlanta Games. "But the question for us is not if it's the last World Cup for him".

Sampaoli, it should be noted, is the ninth different head coach since Argentina won their first Olympic gold in 2004; so no record of smooth continuity there for the Messi generation, the braves of Beijing.

Over the span of his career, Messi is known for being the ultimate big game player, for club and country.

In order to reach the last 16 Argentina need to beat Nigeria and then hope that Croatia - who are expected to play a weakened team - don't lose to Iceland. "The Eagles should see it as their final match at the World Cup because they need it more than the Iceland game". What matters for me and other players is that we win and get the three points. However, Sampaoli said the world would see the real Argentina on Tuesday.

Zabaleta, who won the 2005 Under-20 World Cup and the 2008 Olympics alongside Messi, wrote in his column for the BBC: "The happiest I saw Messi when I played alongside him for Argentina was in 2012 - he scored a hat trick against Brazil in NY and played the whole game with freedom and a smile on his face".

Lionel Messi's side will progress with four points if they can snatch three points from the African giants and Iceland fail to spring a surprise.

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