Nigeria vs. Argentina odds, expert picks and insider predictions

The first game a 2-0 defeat to Croatia showed the worst of the Super Eagles, whilst against Iceland Nigeria took their chances and deservedly ran out 2-0 winners.

A 1-1 draw against Iceland after Messi was thwarted from the penalty spot, followed by a chastening 3-0 reverse to Croatia, means only a win will do for La Albiceleste and their under-fire head coach Jorge Sampaoli. We are professionals in football and everybody wants to win.

"Tomorrow Argentina will start its World Cup", he told reporters on Monday. "I asked him to play [for another club] so he would have the rhythm of the matches".

But Nigeria, who are likely to need no more than a point to finish second, believe the balance of power is finally going to swing their way.

Nigeria, the youngest squad at Russian Federation 2018 is up against an ageing Argentina squad led by arguably the best player in the world in Lionel Messi. - Should Iceland beat Croatia, Argentina will need to beat Nigeria by two more goals than Iceland win their match.

Former Eagles midfielder Friday Ekpo said the Argentines would want to make a statement against Nigeria.

"We have to make our goal five games to reach the final - [Tuesday] will be the first final", Sampaoli said in a press conference.

Lionel Messi has failed to score with his last 22 shots in matches at World Cup.

"To answer the question about Messi, I think he can deliver", said Caldwell.

It also suggests these man have accumulated so much playing time together that they should know each other's playing styles, strengths and weaknesses, as second-nature.

All the two matches would be played at the same time.

"This is a different game from that of Iceland, so the tactics to be adopted by the coaches may be different. The players and officials are ready for anything they will face in the game against Argentina, but we are also working to ensure we don't experience any surprise in the game", he said.

Javier Mascherano insists fellow Argentina team-mate Lionel Messi is "fine" despite an underwhelming World Cup campaign so far, but did admit he remains frustrated.

"Sometimes I do have to enter into that virtual world to deal with facts and realities that can't be changed, such as Argentina not winning against Croatia".

Messi, who turned 31 on Sunday, could be making his final World Cup appearance if Argentina fail to progress.

Sergio Aguero, the scorer of Argentina's only goal at the tournament thus far, in the 1-1 tie with Iceland, could make way for Gonzalo Higuain and goalkeeper Willy Caballero is set to be dropped for Franco Armani after his glaring error which handed Croatia the lead.

  • Julie Sanders