FIFA World Cup 2018: Lionel Messi fighting for Argentina career; Iceland hope to continue fairytale on Day 13

The first day of World Cup teams playing simultaneous matches to see who advances went down to the wire — and to video replays — with Spain eventually topping Group B ahead of Portugal. Tuesday's double-headers promise more exciting action as only one team from Group C and D each have secured their place in the Round of 16.

Lionel Messi will need to step against Nigeria to help Argentina qualify for the last-16. Reuters

Lionel Messi will need to step against Nigeria to help Argentina qualify for the Last 16. Reuters

France from Group C have advanced and lead with six points. Denmark are second, and play France on Tuesday, when Australia take on Peru. Australia need to win, probably by more than one goal, and need Denmark to lose by as many as possible.

In Group D, Croatia have booked their Last 16 berth and top the group with six points. Nigeria (three points) will advance with a win over Argentina (one point) on Tuesday, when Iceland play Croatia. But Iceland (one point) or the last-placed Argentines could survive with a win and a Nigeria loss or draw, depending on goal difference.

Here’s a look at what you can expect on Tuesday:

Group C: Australia vs Peru, Denmark vs France (7.30 pm)

France have already advanced and need only a draw to top Group C. Denmark can move into the Round of 16 by earning one point, or if Australia lose to Peru in their match played at the same time.

Denmark are trying to advance from the group stage for the fourth time in their fifth World Cup appearance, but are without two critical players. Yussuf Poulsen, who scored in a 1-0 opening win over Peru, is suspended for yellow cards. Midfielder William Kvist is back in Russia but had returned home briefly for treatment on cracked ribs and a punctured lung in the game against Peru.

Meanwhile, Australia need to win and could call on the services of 38-year-old striker Tim Cahill, who is yet to play in Russia. An Australia victory, coupled with a France win over Denmark, would lead to goal difference determining which team advances with France.

If Cahill gets game time in the match and ends up scoring, he'd be the fifth player to score in four World Cups — joining Pele, Uwe Seeler, Miroslav Klose and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Australia have struggled to score in the World Cup and their last three goals in the tournament have come from penalty kicks, including two from captain Mile Jedinak in Russia. Australia are only the second team in World Cup history to score three consecutive goals from the penalty spot. Ghana did it from 2006-2010.

Peru will likely be without striker Jefferson Farfan, who was hospitalised with a head injury from a hard collision with a teammate during training over the weekend.

Group D: Nigeria vs Argentina, Iceland vs Croatia (11.30 pm)

Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest footballer in history, has had a miserable World Cup and must turn it around immediately to save Argentina from a humiliating early exit from the tournament.

Messi leads Argentina into a must-win Tuesday game against Nigeria at Saint Petersburg Stadium, where the African team would advance out of Group D with a victory. The South Americans are winless at the World Cup, Messi has yet to score a goal, and a victory against Nigeria won't guarantee a spot in the Round of 16. Argentina must win, and get help from Croatia, who have already advanced.

Croatia have no pressure in their match against Iceland, but the latter must win their final Group D game in Rostov-on-Don to advance. If Iceland win, Argentina are out and Messi's international career might be over.

Messi turned 31 two days before the match, and there's strong speculation he will retire from the national team if Argentina loses.

Iceland, meanwhile, are the nation with the smallest population ever to qualify for a World Cup with 350,000 inhabitants. The entire nation has been following the squad, which is known at home as "Our Boys." The draw against Argentina was an upset, but Iceland then dropped the next game 2-0 to Nigeria.

Iceland beat Croatia in a World Cup qualifier, and now find the same rivals in their path again.

With inputs from AP

Click here for full coverage of FIFA World Cup 2018

Click here to view the full schedule of FIFA World Cup 2018

Click here to view the points table of FIFA World Cup 2018


Updated Date: Jun 26, 2018 09:48 AM

Also Watch

Social Media Star: Abhishek Bachchan, Varun Grover reveal how they handle selfies, trolls and broccoli
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 It's a Wrap: Soorma star Diljit Dosanjh and Hockey legend Sandeep Singh in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 Watch: Dalit man in Uttar Pradesh defies decades of prejudice by taking out baraat in Thakur-dominated Nizampur village
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 India's water crisis: After govt apathy, Odisha farmer carves out 3-km canal from hills to tackle scarcity in village
  • Sunday, July 15, 2018 Maurizio Sarri, named as new Chelsea manager, is owner Roman Abramovich's latest gamble in quest for 'perfect football'

Also See