Argentina struggles down to team, not just Messi – Hierro

Lionel Messi cannot be solely blamed for Argentina's struggles, according to Spain coach Fernando Hierro.

Argentina's Lionel Messi   -  Getty Images

Spain coach Fernando Hierro believes Argentina's struggles at the World Cup must be a "collective thing" and not just a drop in form from Lionel Messi.

With Jorge Sampaoli's men on the verge of a group-stage exit in Russia, Messi has been criticised, particularly in the wake of his team's 3-0 loss to Croatia.

A win over Nigeria in their final Group D game may be enough for Argentina to reach the last 16, although Messi is yet to score or provide an assist at this year's tournament.

Hierro said the talent in the South Americans' squad meant there were bigger issues than just Messi.

"I have always thought that everything that happens in a game, the good and the bad, is a group issue. And if it is not, you better go play tennis," he told Onda Cero.

"All the good or bad things that Argentina, us or everyone can do will come from that group of lads that came here fighting for one aim.

"Obviously there are people with huge names after winning a lot of individual prizes that have spotlights on them.

"But if you see the group of talented players that Argentina have, and the importance of them on their clubs, you realise that it has to be a collective thing. But I have enough on my plate than to watch other teams."

While Argentina struggle, Spain are top of Group B ahead of a meeting with Morocco Monday.

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