Let's mind our own business, say Croatia ahead of Iceland game

Marcus Newton
June 26, 2018

Argentina need a win over Nigeria to have any chance of making the next stage, and even then it is not guaranteed.

He told the BBC: "The happiest I saw Lionel Messi when I played alongside him for Argentina was in 2012 - he scored a hat-trick against Brazil in NY, and he played the whole game with freedom and a smile on his face".

Messi had a penalty saved as Jorge Sampaoli's men were held by Iceland in their first outing, while the Barcelona star was a peripheral figure in the 3-0 humbling at the hands of Croatia.

They are all nearly certainly set to watch this final group game from the sidelines.

"If he had the ball less than usual it's because Argentina didn't dominate the match as we did against Iceland".

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.

Croatia could become the fifth team in the history of the World Cup to win all three of their group games without conceding a goal, a feat previously achieved by Brazil at Mexico 1986, Italy on home soil in 1990, Argentina at France 1998 and Uruguay here at Russian Federation 2018.

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Former Argentina worldwide Pablo Zabaleta is concerned by how "stressed and unhappy" Lionel Messi has appeared at the 2018 World Cup. "We know what we have to do".

Croatia won 2-0 in Zagreb, while Iceland were victorious in Reykjavik (1-0) and went on to win the group, whereas Croatia qualified via the play-offs. To see him looking so stressed and unhappy at this World Cup was a real worry. If Argentina draw or win, it will all come down to goal difference.

All eyes will be on Messi as Argentina seeks to avoid the prospect of an early elimination.

"You can become isolated and it becomes hard to face adversity, but we have to do that", Sampaoli said. "This team is absolutely determined to win the match and advance to the round of 16 and to start a new page in this World Cup".

"I would like to be the first in the group, but we have to take care of ourselves".

"We have to make our goal five games to reach the final".

The Socceroos have put in two resolute performances and were a little unfortunate not to come away with a point from their first match against France, though it's clear they lack quality compared to some of their rivals.

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