Men's Team

All or nothing for Argentina

All or nothing for Argentina
All eyes will be on Argentina tonight, as La Albiceleste’s hopes of World Cup qualification hang by a thread.

The events required to clinch progression for Sergio Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi’s side are beyond their control – Jorge Sampaoli’s men must beat Nigeria (7pm UK time) and hope Iceland fail to defeat group-topping Croatia.

With two wins, Croatia have qualified already and with the suggestion the Group D leaders – needing just a point to finish top – may rest players, Argentina’s chances may become even slimmer.

Equally, Nigeria also head into the clash in the knowledge a victory would seal their own progression and a point would be enough for the Super Eagles if Iceland do not win.

Should Argentina and Nigeria draw, Iceland would qualify with a victory of a two-goal margin, should they also score at least one more goal than Nigeria.

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An Iceland win would not be enough however, if Argentina defeat Nigeria by two more goals than Iceland’s margin. Should the pair complete the group with identical points and goal records, progression will be decided by each team’s disciplinary records (Iceland are yet to pick up a yellow card, while Argentina have three) and then (if required) the drawing of lots.

Following rumours of a fall-out after La Albiceleste’s shock 3-0 defeat to Croatia between the squad and Sampaoli, it is suggested several players may lose their place in tonight’s decider, including Aguero.

Kun is Argentina’s only goalscorer so far, netting a superb opener in the 1-1 draw against Iceland. He was substituted in the defeat to Croatia. Otamendi has completed 90 minutes of both games and is not believed to be under threat of being dropped.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Mendy’s France are also in action today, facing Denmark in their Group C finale (3pm UK time). Les Bleus have already sealed progression with two victories and a point against the Danes would ensure top spot. A draw would also see Denmark through to the last 16.

Mendy is yet to feature in Russia, having sat out France’s 2-1 triumph over Australia and 1-0 win over Peru on the bench, but with qualification secured, Didier Deschamps may opt to rotate the squad.

Australia could still qualify with a victory over Peru, if France win and the Aussies better Denmark’s goal difference. Peru – without a point so far – cannot progress.

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Our two Silvas will be in the Round of 16, as Spain and Portugal snatched qualification on a night of controversy as VAR hit the headlines once again.

David Silva’s Spain drew 2-2 with Morocco, salvaging a draw in injury time through Iago Aspas. Isco had opened the scoring for La Roja but goals from Khalid Boutaib and Youssef En Nesyri had handed the African outfit a surprise lead. 'El Mago' was brought off on 84 minutes.

The Spaniards topped the group on goals scored ahead of Portugal, who drew 1-1 with Iran. Bernardo Silva’s side, leading 1-0 through Ricardo Quaresma, were set to finish top of Group B before a hotly-contested Karim Ansarifard penalty levelled the score late on. Bernardo Silva replaced Quaresma with 20 minutes of normal time remaining.

Meanwhile, in Group A, Uruguay finished top with a 100% record, meaning the South American side will play Portugal in the last 16. Russia will play Spain.

Monday’s results

Group A

Saudi Arabia 2-1 Egypt

Uruguay 3-0 Russia

Group B

Iran 1-1 Portugal

Spain 2-2 Morocco

Tuesday’s fixtures

Group C

Australia v Peru (3pm, ITV 4)

Denmark v France (3pm, ITV 1)

Group D

Iceland v Croatia (7pm, BBC 4)

Nigeria v Argentina (7pm, BBC 1)