Argentina World Cup scenarios: What Messi, Sampaoli and others must do to move on to knockout stage
Here are all the scenarios you need to know
Argentina still has a chance to finish second in Group D at the World Cup despiteand on Thursday.
Nigeria'son Friday gives the South Americans a lifeline and a pretty straightforward path to the round of 16. The scenarios aren't overly complicated like they would have been had Iceland won, and this news has to inject some excitement into the team, which has been very poor in its first two matches.
Here's how things are looking:
Here's what can happen for Argentina and the others.
Croatia wins the group with a win or draw vs. Iceland, and they'll also win the group if Nigeria fails to win. If Nigeria wins and Croatia loses, Croatia could slip to second on goal differential. But with a plus-five differential right now, it's very unlikely. It's safe to pen them in as group winners.
Nigeria clinches a spot in the knockouts with a win or draw vs. Argentina. They have a chance at winning the group if they win and Croatia loses, though they have a big gap to make up in goal differential (see above). Nigeria can advance with a draw as long as they stay ahead in goal differential if Iceland beats Croatia. If the two teams are tied in differential, it goes to goals scored to figure out who advances, where Nigeria is currently one goal ahead. A loss to Argentina would eliminate Nigeria, regardless of the other result.
Iceland has to win vs. Croatia to have any chance. If they win and Nigeria loses to Argentina, Iceland advances. If they win and Nigeria draws, Iceland has to make up the goal differential, which means beating Croatia by at least two goals (their current deficit in differential). If the teams wind up tied in differential, Iceland will need to have more goals scored in the tourney than Nigeria, and they're currently one behind.
Lionel Messi and company have to beat Nigeria. They will be through if they win and Iceland fails to win. They can also go through with a victory even if Iceland wins, as long as they make up the goal differential. For example, if Argentina wins 3-0 and Iceland wins 2-1, they would be level on points but Argentina's goal differential would be zero, while Iceland's would be minus-one. So it's simple for Argentina: win and try to win big.
Still lots to play for. Croatia vs. Iceland and Argentina vs. Nigeria, which will take place on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET. You can watch all the World Cup action, including those final Group D games, on fuboTV (Try for free).
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