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Lionel Messi wary ahead of Argentina’s clash with France

Lionel Messi wary ahead of Argentina’s clash with France

That is how Argentina's qualification for the knockout stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup can aptly be summed up.

Argentina were 1-0 up at this point, before Victor Moses equalised with a penalty just after half-time.

Midfielder Ever Banega provided a great link up with Messi, spraying an inch-perfect pass for Messi's opener whilst controlling possession with his passing ability and creativity in the middle of the pitch.

Hernan Crespo believes it is only logical that Argentina depend on Lionel Messi and said Barcelona do likewise. "That's not true and you saw it today", Sampaoli said.

During a video assistant referee (VAR) review over a possible handball by Argentina's Gabriel Mercado, Sampaoli called Messi over to the touchline and, according to images published by TyC Sports, asked him: "Should I bring [Sergio] Agüero on?"

Not even a lively performance from Lionel Messi - at least in the first half in St Petersburg - as they edged out Nigeria 2-1 to finish second in Group D will give their large traveling band of supporters in Russian Federation much in the way of confidence.

"I don't remember such suffering", said Messi when asked if it was the most tense match of his career. "If we can't control the ball, it could become a physical match, and that won't suit us at all". We follow every game.

Uruguay's coach, Oscar Tabárez, at 71, became the first manager to appear in four World Cups with the same team and Mexico defender, Rafael Marquez became only the third player in the history of the tournament to appear in five editions.

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

That scenario sparked debate ahead of Thursday's England-Belgium group match - was it better to win and enter the tougher side of the draw or lose and face potentially easier fixtures down the line?

Whether this will irritate the Argentine, or give him a lift going into the last-16 clash, remains to be seen.

To honor the Argentinian football star, a group of local street painters drew a six-meter-tall portrait of Messi on a building that stands next to the Ronaldo mural.


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