Lionel Messi on a mission as Argentina train with renewed hope

Simeone appeared to call into question the true quality of Argentina’s usual talisman Lionel Messi who has had a minimal impact at tournament in Russia. ― Reuters pic

Lionel Messi on a mission as Argentina train with renewed hope

Aside from the loss to Croatia and an opening-game draw against Iceland, Argentina lost in the 2014 World Cup final to Germany in extra time.

Victory over Nigeria in their final Group D match in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday would send Argentina through as runners-up if group leaders Croatia avoid defeat against Iceland.

Ramos was asked what he made of Maradona's comments after Spain's 1-0 World Cup Group B win over Iran, and chose to praise on Messi, who has led Barcelona to numerous wins over Real Madrid and had plenty of full-blooded clashes with the Spaniard. "The team is lost", former Argentina global Simeone can be heard saying.

Simeone also appeared to call into question the true quality of Argentina's usual talisman Lionel Messi, who has had a minimal impact at tournament in Russian Federation and missed a penalty against Iceland in the Group D opener, while his rival Cristiano Ronaldo has scored four times for Portugal.

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However so far in Russia, Messi has been overshadowed by Ronaldo, who took his tournament goal tally to four on Tuesday with the victor in Portugal's 1-0 defeat of Morocco, which condemned the Africans to an early exit.

"I respect Maradona because he is an all-time great, I think he was a star, but I'll also tell you that Argentine football knows Maradona is light years behind their number one player, which is Messi", Ramos said.

The heavy defeat puts Argentina in a hard spot when it comes to qualifying for the knockout stages, though advancement is still possible.

"The team is all wrong, but it is Argentina and I believe that it will happen", Simeone said.

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"Right now in the dressing room they are coming to blows. Someone has to step up and start fighting", he added.

Goalkeeper Willy Caballero could be dropped following his mistake for the opening goal against Croatia, with River Plate's Franco Armani possibly in line to make his global debut.

"He's done it before hasn't he?"

Simeone said: "The goalkeeper has done this before hasn't he German, he did it against Spain, against Italy when they hit the post, and if you slip up like that in a World Cup, it's a goal". "If you make a mistake like that in a World Cup game, it's a goal".

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