Messi is frustrated and hungry - Mascherano

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Messi is frustrated and hungry - Mascherano

According to Vavel.com, Argentina players will pick the squad Tuesday against Nigeria in an all-important match with Sampaoli no longer making decisions.

While Jorge Sampaoli's side can still qualify to the knockout stages, they do need results to fall in their favour while also beating Nigeria themselves in their final group game on Tuesday.

Messi led Argentina to the World Cup final four years ago and consecutive Copa America finals in the following two years, but all three ended in defeat.

Alba has defended Messi, who is still searching for his first senior trophy with Argentina.

The Manchester City striker is one of several players who declared war on beleaguered coach, Jorge Sampaoli, following the 1-1 draw with Iceland and the 3-0 drubbing by Croatia. "You would be harming the team".

"The relationship with the coach is totally normal", Mascherano said at a news conference in Moscow. Presumably though, Sampaoli will be sacked if Argentina do not make it out the group, a fate they are desperate to avoid. But he didn't clarify what would happen afterward since Sampaoli has a contract that runs through the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"Whether we like it or not, we are the World Cup runners-up and at some point we have to prove it", he said.

But Argentina is still a slight favorite to advance as the runner-up in Group D after Nigeria beat Iceland on Friday.

Fabregas also praised former Barcelona teammate Messi and bemoaned Argentina's lack of quality as they have drawn with Iceland and lost to Croatia putting them on the brink of an early World Cup exit.

"If we don't say what we think, we're going to get to the game with a lot of insecurities".

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