Alba: I don't understand the criticism of Messi

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Alba: I don't understand the criticism of Messi

A team of five workers at Moscow's Altufyevo Confectionery worked for almost a week to carve the sculpture in 60 kg (132 lbs) of chocolate to mark the Argentina forward's 31st birthday on Sunday. Tapia didn't respond to questions. "Anarchy, no leadership from the staff nor from those that guide her".

"I get the feeling there's a general anger at the heart of the team", said Argentina's legendary 1986 World Cup-winning captain Diego Maradona.

"The Argentina game will be completely different though".

"We know the situation is tricky", Mascherano said.

"But, at the slightest difficulty, they start hitting us again when we are on the floor".

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Franco Armani is tipped to replace Willy Caballero for the Nigeria clash after the Chelsea goalkeeper's blunder against Croatia, with Sampaoli also expected to ditch his three-man defence and return to a traditional back four. The way they looked, I can not see Argentina qualifying now.

"He does not have the quality in behind him, when he needs someone who can help him build up the play".

"We need to be very optimistic". "My question is: If you had to choose between Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo for a normal team, who would you choose?"

Others connected to Argentine football have also spoken out after Thursday's debacle.

Victory against the Africans, who Argentina have beaten in all four previous World Cup meetings, will secure qualification for the last 16 as long as Iceland don't shock already-qualified Croatia.

Sampaoli took full responsibility for the loss, which followed his team's 1-1 draw with Iceland in their opener when Messi had a penalty saved in that first game.

Instead it has been a poor world cup, with reports suggesting that the players are calling for the manager to be removed ahead of their final group game. "I think it is done by giving our best, giving everything we can to the team and, mainly, saying what we think".

Without the five-time World Player of the Year, though, it is highly unlikely Argentina would even have qualified.

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