Argentina's World Cup mutiny has reportedly turned into a players' coup

A life-sized chocolate sculpture of Lionel Messi

Reuters image grab

Maradona insisted he "would love" to meet the Argentina players before the critical Nigeria game - and suggested that several of his former teammates should join him for the meeting.

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

"Leo is fine", he told a news conference.

With players like Sergio Agüero, Ángel Di María, Gonzalo Higuaín, Paulo Dybala, Cristian Pavón, Maximiliano Meza and Ever Banega, Argentina should be terrorizing opponents on the attack.

Argentina go into the match knowing only a victory could see them through to the round of 16.

Currently, Argentina are at the bottom of the Group, which is not a position they would have expected at the start of the Cup.

Sampaoli has been fiercely criticised for his inability to find a system to get the best out of Messi, but hit back at his treatment from what he described as press living in a "virtual world".

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It is hard when people in your country treat you like a loser.

Should Argentina fail to win the 2018 World Cup, Messi will have to wait until 2022 to have another shot on the evasive trophy. "Perhaps, a draw could be good to qualify, but we cannot think and play for a draw", Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr said.

Aguero was replaced by Higuain during the Croatia match having done very little, but Higuain suffered a similar problem as the team failed to create for him or get Lionel Messi on the ball in unsafe areas. "In the virtual world, one is made to feel like a criminal". First he had a penalty saved by Ali Beiranvand and was later rescued by a review as Iran's players called for him to be sent off following an incident with Morteza Pouraliganji. We are here to make a result, we are professionals.

"We know the situation is tricky".

"I would just like to say that when the mission and the shirt that we represent is much bigger than any type of interpretation you may be making, then we will be all united together for the same goal". When I played in the Argentina team with him, he was always the main player and the main man.

The footballer will hope the similarities end there, however, as he has been accused of melting under the intense pressure on his shoulders in Russian Federation after Argentina claimed just one point from their opening two games.

He has a contract until 2022 and with the Argentina FA in severe financial difficulties, would usually expect to lose his job if they are eliminated.

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