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Messi & Co. start as Sampaoli names Argentina's oldest World Cup XI

1:50 AM SGT 27/6/18
Lionel Messi Argentina Croatia World Cup 2018 210618
The Albiceleste have to beat Nigeria to stand any chance of making the last 16 in Russia, with their old guard charged with delivering a win

Argentina’s starting XI for a must-win clash with Nigeria has seen Jorge Sampaoli name the country’s oldest side in a World Cup fixture.

The Albiceleste have struggled to get going at Russia 2018, with just one point collected from their opening two Group D games.

Lionel Messi missed a penalty in an opening 1-1 draw with Iceland, before costly errors and a late collapse led to a humbling 3-0 defeat at the hands of Croatia.

A place in the last 16 can still be secured , but Argentina have no margin for error.

With that in mind, Sampaoli has rung the changes for a crucial contest and put his faith in experience.

Barcelona talisman Messi, who recently celebrated his 31st birthday, will skipper a side made up of several other 30-somethings.

The old guard have been charged with delivering under pressure, with Gonzalo Higuain drafted in as Sergio Aguero drops out up front and Franco Armani takes over from Willy Caballero in goal .

Angel Di Maria also comes back in, while 34-year-old Javier Mascherano will fill a midfield holding role on the occasion of his 146th cap.

Argentina head into a meeting with Nigeria sat bottom of Group D.

Messi is yet to open his goal account, with Aguero the only player to have found the target so far.

There is still hope, though, and Sampaoli needs his seasoned professionals to right a few wrongs and prevent an early exit.

Pressure has been building on the under-fire coach, and those at his disposal, but a record-breaking selection could prove to be the one which delivers when it matters most.