FIFA World Cup 2018: Argentina look to make new start in desperation match with Nigeria

"We have to make our goal five games to reach the final. Tomorrow will be the first final," Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli said.

FIFA World Cup 2018: Argentina look to make new start in desperation match with Nigeria
Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli holds a press conference at St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Monday, June 25. EFE/EPA/GEORGI LICOVSKI

St. Petersburg, Russia: Embattled Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli said here on Monday that his side will show the "best version" of itself against Nigeria in a match that could see the 2014 World Cup runners-up eliminated from the 2018 tournament.

Argentina goes into Tuesday's contest in St. Petersburg with just a single point after drawing with Iceland in their opener and losing 3-0 to Croatia in their second game.

To have any chance of advancing from Group D, the Celeste must defeat Nigeria, who have 3 points.

"We have to make our goal five games to reach the final. Tomorrow will be the first final," Sampaoli said during a press conference at St. Petersburg Stadium ahead of the showdown with the Super Eagles.

The coach offered no clues about the roster for Tuesday's game, though the presence of backup goalkeeper Franco Armani at the press conference suggested he may be picked over error-prone starter Willy Caballero.

"No matter who plays tomorrow will have the obligation to give until the last bead of sweat so that Argentina will go through," Sampaoli said.

"We don't have any alternative and I am sure this is how it will go. Tomorrow, I am sure that they will see the best version of Argentina at this World Cup," he added.

With team captain Lionel Messi visibly unhappy following both of the first two matches, media outlets have reported that players went over Sampaoli's head to the Argentine soccer federation to demand changes in personnel and tactics.

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