Aguero dropped for Higuain as Messi seeks World Cup salvation

Jorge Sampaoli has rolled the dice with five changes for Argentina as Lionel Messi aims to keep his World Cup dream alive against Nigeria.

Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain   -  Getty Images

Argentina has rung the changes with its World Cup place on the line, as Gonzalo Higuain replaces Sergio Aguero in attack to face Nigeria in St Petersburg.

Lionel Messi and his teammates must beat the Super Eagles at Krestovsky Stadium to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages after they followed an opening 1-1 draw against Iceland with a shambolic 3-0 loss to Croatia.

As expected, under-fire boss Jorge Sampaoli has made five changes to the starting XI dispatched by Croatia, with Aguero missing out despite scoring his country's only goal at Russia 2018 so far.


Angel Di Maria is restored to complete a three-man attack alongside Messi and Higuain in a 4-3-3 formation – Sampaoli's third different tactical setup in as many matches.

Franco Armani makes his international debut in goal, with Willy Caballero paying for the error that saw Ante Rebic open the scoring for Croatia last week.

Nigeria was in far more impressive form as they overcame Iceland 2-0 and, currently, lies second in Group D, two points better off than Sampaoli's men. Gernot Rohr has named an unchanged XI, with John Obi Mikel to play in a cast to protect his broken hand.

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