Sunday 16 December 2018

5 things to look out for at the World Cup on Tuesday

It will be a case of win or bust for Argentina when they face Nigeria.

Argentina need Lionel Messi to fire (Tim Goode/Empics)
Argentina need Lionel Messi to fire (Tim Goode/Empics)

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Two more groups will be settled as the World Cup continues on Tuesday.

Here, Press Association Sport details what to look out for in the final matches of Groups C and D.

Can Argentina rescue their tournament?

Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli is under fire

Two-times champions Argentina have been in turmoil since their 3-0 thrashing by Croatia last Thursday left them on the brink of elimination. There have been reports that coach Jorge Sampaoli has not only lost the dressing room, but that the players wanted him removed before their final game against Nigeria. He remains in charge but he needs his big players, notably Lionel Messi, to fire in this must win game in St Petersburg.

Nigeria will be no pushovers

In theory, Nigeria’s victory over Iceland on Friday made the equation a little simpler for Argentina as it prevented them falling three points behind second spot in Group D. In practice, however, it may have done anything but as the Super Eagles came alive. Ahmed Musa scored two outstanding goals and the pace of their attack suggests Argentina will have their work cut out.

Iceland hope to keep dream alive

After claiming a draw against Argentina, Iceland may have sensed another unlikely chance to reach the knockout stages of a major tournament after their heroics at Euro 2016. Their loss to Nigeria has dealt that hope a hefty blow and now they will need to beat form side Croatia in Rostov-on-Don to keep the dream alive. It seems unlikely but, as Roy Hodgson will attest, they can still spring a surprise.

France bidding to top group

Kylian Mbappe scored France’s winner against Peru (AP)

France are already heading through to the knockout stages and will want to ensure they do so as Group C winners by avoiding defeat against Denmark in Moscow. A draw would actually suit Denmark too, as it would put them out of reach of Australia in second place. There is some incentive to push for victory, though, as it would see them avoid Croatia in the next round.

Aussies cling to slender hope

Peru have played some good football in the tournament and will want to bow out with a win (AP)

With just one point compared to Denmark’s four, Australia need to beat Peru and hope for a favour from France. It is not completely out of the question but they face a Peru side who, despite having failed to register a point or goal, have been one of the livelier sides in Russia. They will want to bow out with something to their names.

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Press Association

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport