Deporte

The four World Cup fixtures scheduled for Saturday 16 June

The four World Cup fixtures scheduled for Saturday 16 June

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli reassured fans his national team will be "very competitive" at the 2018 World Cup despite criticism from Diego Maradona following Friday's draw.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli is confident the Messi factor would give his side the victory against Nigeria when they play on June 26 at the Krestovsky Stadium.

Heimir Hallgrimsson's side qualified against all odds in group I of the European World Cup qualifying zone that had Croatia, Turkey, Finland, Kosovo and Ukraine.

When asked about Maradona's remarks, Sampaoli said: "I hope we have the possibility during this time to train and play better".

Argentina did not book their spot in Russia until their final qualifier, a 3-1 win at Ecuador on Oct. 10, with captain Lionel Messi scoring a hat trick.

It's rounded off with Croatia v Nigeria - a match which is more intriguing than it looks on paper.

Ivonne Ortega renuncia a candidatura del PRI para apoyar a Meade
Cabe recordar que Ivonne Ortega solicitó en enero pasado licencia al cargo como diputada federal para concentrarse en sus aspiraciones presidenciales.

Lionel Messi's quest to deliver World Cup glory for Argentina could pit the two-time champions against a handful of familiar faces in a potential quarter-final showdown with Spain.

Sampaoli said: "These are rivals that are coming with few obligations and a lot of enthusiasm for a unique opportunity as the World Cup is". We need to establish a way and be the Argentina we want to be.

Joachim Loew's Germany will expect to top a section featuring Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, and would be heavy favourites in the knockout phase against the runners-up of Group E - assuming it is not Neymar's Brazil.

They will rekindle their rivalry with Croatia in their final group game Rostov-on-Don Stadium on the 26th of June.

"Argentina have one of the strongest squads in football but the Nigerian players are great athletes, physically strong and it's difficult to cope with them". "With this draw, we have a good chance of qualifying from the group".

"I believe we have the quality to go through".