The Russia World Cup without Argentina was a real possibility around October 2017.
The team, with only seven wins out of 17 matches, needed a win against Ecuador in their last qualifying game.
That time Messi, went forward to net the ball home.
But this time he has failed to showcase his genius in Russia so far, as Iceland and Croatia — marking him heavily — have managed to keep him under control.
With just a point from two group games, Argentina is in dire need for its talisman to fire against its final group stage opponent Nigeria and ensure a longer stay in the Russia world cup.
Javier Mascherano, with an experience of playing three World Cups, understands the importance of the situation and said: “We know the situation is tricky. We have to be united, to express our opinions, and do everything possible so the team goes into the game in the best position.”
Thus Argentina might opt to play with a two-man frontline with Juventus pair Gonzalo Higuain and Paolo Dybala operating ahead of Messi in a 4-3-1-2 formation.
Banega and Angel Di Maria will start — after sitting out the Croatia game — offering the side the much-needed creativity, width and space.
On the other hand, Nigeria promises no mercy for Argentina in their last group game.The scenario is such that a draw against Argentina would be enough for Nigeria to qualify, if Iceland loses to Croatia.
The Nigerian coach Gernot Rohr said “Sometimes, when you play for a draw, you get punched in the face late in the day. It will be a tough game and we must go with a tough mentality from the start to the end.”
Thus Nigeria is expected to adopt a 4-2-3-1 formation, moving away from the more attacking 3-5-2 system employed in the win over Iceland.
The rest tactics would only be revealed when the game progresses.
Soo for now let us get ready to witness a thrilling football clash, where the fight is between pride and existence.