Argentina's World Cup mutiny has reportedly turned into a players' coup

Argentina's World Cup mutiny has reportedly turned into a players' coup

His 31st birthday Sunday falls smack bang in the middle of a complex overseas work assignment for his country, but the little town of Bronnitsy is doing its best to make Lionel Messi feel at home.

"He must be bored, exhausted or disgusted, he gives everything for Barcelona but doesn't for Argentina".

It could end up impacting Messi too, since slowing Argentina's passing game is the key to keeping him quiet.

Those who think the team has a shot at winning the 2018 edition is taking into account Argentina's history, not its present-day situation.

"Tomorrow Argentina will start its World Cup", he told reporters on Monday.

But it has not been an easy journey for the livewire forward, who first caught the eye when, as a 21-year-old, he scored twice against Lionel Messi's Argentina in a 3-2 group stage defeat in Brazil four years ago.

But so far Messi has had nobody to support him, since Argentina's midfield is its weakest link and has been generating little creativity. Time to save Argentina from another crushing disappointment. Argentina must not give them space to play their free-flowing game.

Messi, so distraught about missing his spot kick against Chile in 2016, temporarily retired from the national team.

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Soccer's world governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association said earlier on Friday it was trying to identify the fans, who were filmed fighting at Thursday's World Cup match between Argentina and Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod. That Argentina conceded 16 goals shows how crucial Messi's goals were.

Messi might need cheering up, having been criticised for his tepid performances at his fourth World Cup with Argentina facing the shocking prospect of exiting the tournament early unless remaining Group D results go their way. Then came the 3-0 loss to Croatia, which got its first goal on the biggest goalkeeper blunder so far at the tournament - before Argentina got roasted on counterattacks.

Iceland, meanwhile, is the nation with the smallest population ever to qualify for a World Cup with 350,000 inhabitants. "He does not have the quality in behind him, when he needs someone who can help him build up the play".

The myth is he's not committed.

"I have no doubt that they're going to give it a go".

Other stars have come through at this World Cup.

"We're expecting a very, very tough game and one that I know they're going to want to win", he added.

"I've been sharing my room with Willy, we've been sharing the training sessions and spending time together day after day", he said.

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