Sports

Diego Maradona 'requests meeting with Argentina players before final group game'

Diego Maradona 'requests meeting with Argentina players before final group game'

Reports this week in Argentina and Spain have not only indicated Sampaoli has lost the team, but also that the players themselves will decide who starts and the formation they use against Nigeria.

Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano says teammate Lionel Messi is desperate to help the Albiceleste bounce back against Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup.

Messi might need cheering up, having been criticised for his tepid performances at his fourth World Cup with Argentina facing the shocking prospect of exiting the tournament early unless remaining Group D results go their way.

According to BBC Sport, Maradona has demanded to talk to the players before their final game against Nigeria on Tuesday, which they must win in order to have any hope of qualifying for the knockout rounds.

Argentina almost missed the World Cup altogether, needing a Messi hat-trick in the final qualifying match just to punch a ticket to Russian Federation.

"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. And Argentina is very unhappy.

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Argentinian TV hosts held a minute's silence after their 3-0 Croatia defeat at World Cup.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has made it clear he does not want to retire from global duty until he lifts the World Cup trophy with his national side, Argentina.

"Like it our not, we are the runners-up from the World Cup and we have to show it".

"The best coaches in the world also ask the players for their opinion, because the player is the one who ends up making the decisions", Mascherano said.

The Russian showpiece has been a ideal storm of pressure for Messi, as not only has he struggled after missing a penalty against Iceland but Cristiano Ronaldo's incredible return of four goals in two games has put the spotlight on the Argentine even more.


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