The stars need to align for Argentina in the group finale if the country isn’t going to face the ultimate walk of shame out of the World Cup
“Tomorrow the World Cup begins for us, with the first of five finals. You will see the best of this team,” Jorge Sampaoli fired back in his final press conference after a tense week that saw Argentina on the brink of an exit, thrown a lifeline, fend off reports of fighting in the camp and deny a player-led coup.
An eventful week even by Argentinian standards but after a draw against Iceland and an embarrassing defeat to Croatia, La Albiceleste are at the last chance saloon – only victory over Nigeria on Tuesday will do (and hoping that Iceland don’t defeat Croatia) if Sampaoli’s side are to progress.
“Tomorrow’s match will be vital. Both teams can advance. They will try to do everything to advance and this will make it more attractive.
“The defeat to Croatia was painful and it’s put us in a spot where we depend on a result but a few days have passed. I have taken responsibility for that loss.
“From the very next day I just started to think about a victory over Nigeria. I am focused only on the next game and convinced that the team will go out to win,” Sampaoli stressed.