Messi’s in a Mess, Doesn’t Seem to Fit into the Argentina Collective

Messi’s in a Mess, Doesn’t Seem to Fit into the Argentina Collective

At tournaments like the World Cup, the height of that discussion only exacerbates; each performance, each game and each goal by either of the two lead to instant comparisons and a lot for others to deliberate.

However, Jorge Sampaoli's turned their fortunes around with a 2-1 win over Nigeria to send them into the knockout stages with Messi scoring a superb goal inside the opening 15 minutes. And this present World Cup could prove a deciding factor in who goes down as the best in the world during the Ronaldo/Messi era.

Senegal created a piece of unwanted history, becoming the first team to be eliminated from the World Cup on the fair play rule.

Football heavyweights France, Argentina, Portugal and Brazil are all clustered in one section of the competition, with only Spain among recent winners in the other half.

But perhaps Argentina's dramatic last-gasp qualification will have given Messi and company belief as they prepare to face a France team which, as one of the pre-tournament favorites, has failed to impress.

"This is going to be a hard match, we are going to have to step up our level", Lloris said.

"Leo is completely committed to the team, first and foremost you see this on the pitch", the Argentina coach said.

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The opening round of the World Cup group stage continued with European nations Sweden and Belgium registering comfortable wins. England's two goals, both scored by Harry Kane , came from corners as the prolific striker slipped his markers.

Ronaldo started off in Russian Federation in rousing form; a hat-trick against Spain in the opening match, the highlight of which was a sumptuous late free-kick to secure a point for his side. The same also goes for Uruguay and Portugal, two similar teams with similar strategies.

No Arab sides in the last 16 and Tunisia manager Nahib Maaloul is not convinced things will improve easily. Prior to 2018, Ronaldo scored one goal in each tournament.

"We are indeed painting graffiti portraying Messi, but we planned to do it already previous year, and Kazan mayor Ilsur Metshin mentioned that", he said, as per Four Four Two.

The first phase in Russian Federation featured just one goalless draw and already a record number of penalties, with the video assistant referee (VAR) often in the spotlight. It will be interesting to see how the match unfolds, especially in midfield.

The last time Uruguay allowed a goal was in a 4-2 victory over Bolivia in World Cup qualifying last October. It was Mina's headed goal against Poland in their second match that set the tone, and it was also his headed effort that earned Colombia a 1-0 win over Senegal on Thursday.

Despite storming through the group stage, France's first choice keeper and team captain Hugo Lloris says his team will not be taking their opponents or their superstar lightly.

Speaking to reporters in his pre-match news conference at Kazan Arena ahead of the last-16 meeting with France, Sampaoli said: "I have a contract and I'm happy to be here despite what sometimes surrounds this job".