'Furious' Maradona wants to meet Argentina players

'Furious' Maradona wants to meet Argentina players

We predict Argentina to win this match but we expect that there will be some nerves towards the end of the game, either in this fixture or the other one.

That's how an Argentinian sports show reacted to their national football team's stunning 3-0 defeat to Croatia at the World Cup in Russian Federation on Thursday (Friday NZ time).

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.

The three-goal margin has left the Argentines in a state of shock, as it was only the second time they have been beaten by three or more goals in the first-round group stage at a World Cup, with manager Jorge Sampaoli receiving widespread condemnation.

He was working with a 4-3-3 before the World Cup, with only one defensive midfielder, but the day before the Iceland game he changed to play with two, even though we knew they would defend very deep.

He was encouraged by Nigeria's German coach Gernot Rohr to return to his old club in Russian Federation on loan in January to get more game time ahead of the World Cup, a move Musa acknowledges has been vital.

"He is one of the big names in Russian Federation who has made a strong start to this World Cup, in terms of goals, with four so far".

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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.

Former Argentina global Pablo Zabaleta is concerned by how "stressed and unhappy" Lionel Messi has appeared at the 2018 World Cup.

His body language was completely the opposite before the Croatia game on Thursday.

Coach Jorge Sampaoli was supposed to be the antidote to Argentina's 'Pass to Messi' problem. Nigeria (four points) can top the group if they beat Argentina and Croatia lose to Ireland, as well as if Nigeria's goal difference improves ahead of Croatia.

"The way the match was structured against Croatia didn't suit Messi", the coach said.

At last year's Confederations Cup, he was spot on in three predictions, and a fourth was void because he did not eat from any bowl and the match ended in a draw. If Iceland wins, then Sampaoli's side can still qualify if it beats Nigeria by two more goals than Iceland wins its game.

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