Can Lionel Messi find his mojo against Nigeria?
Can Lionel Messi find his mojo against Nigeria?

Last chance saloon for Messi, Argentina

IF you thought the entertainment involving Spain and Portugal on Tuesday morning (AEST) would be hard to top, then think again.

Argentina are under pressure after two poor performances and staring at their first group stage exit since the dark days of 2002.

Superstar Lionel Messi simply must lift his beleaguered side over the line against Nigeria in their Group D encounter in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday morning (AEST) - and then hope for Croatia to do them a favour at the same time.

A draw simply will not suffice. Argentina must win and, if Iceland beat Croatia, they need to score plenty of goals as well.

But Nigeria will be no pushover, as they proved in their 2-0 win over Iceland late last week.

Argentina's struggles in Russia come after their pre-tournament preparations were wrecked by controversy and poor form, coupled with a reliance on a top-heavy, limited squad.

The Argentine federation was even moved to confirm that coach Jorge Sampaoli would continue for the final group game amid rumours of a rift between players and coach.

Croatia have had a smooth run thus far and will put an end to Iceland's hopes with a win in Rostov.