Messi vs. France with Maradona watching; Ronaldo vs. Uruguay

Messi opens scoring for Argentina

He is forecasting that it is the end of the line for Argentina and Lionel Messi, but that Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo march on, while Brazil will also be among those to reach the quarter-finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo's girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez sparked engagement rumours recently when she appeared to flash a diamond ring as Portugal took on Morocco.

Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli insists he is deciding team selection and tactics, and not Lionel Messi.

Many jokes poured in on social media regarding Argentina's unavoidable "pleasure" of looking at the winking Ronaldo from their hotel windows.

Lionel Messi's new hotel room could come with a very interesting view for the Argentina captain.

"We will try to stop him but he's not the only one in this Argentina team, they have other strikers".

Sampaoli came under huge fire after Argentina drew 1-1 with Iceland in their first match in Russian Federation and were thrashed 3-0 in their second by Croatia, all amid reports of unrest in their camp. Messi was booked for time wasting late on in Argentina's must-win game against Nigeria.




He did get on the scoresheet in Argentina's dramatic 2-1 win over Nigeria however, which saw the two-time winners of the tournament qualify by the skin of their teeth.

This just wasn't to be the 31-year-old's tournament, and while Messi's lack of a World Cup title should not be used as a stick to beat him with in the conversation for the all-time greatest, this exit will hurt, really, really hurt.

"I remember that point in time but everything I say to my players is personal and I will not divulge what was said", the coach said, ahead of his side's knockout clash.

Despite the speculation, Messi alluded to wanting to continue playing until he helped lead Argentina to a World Cup.

Messi's start was nearly the opposite, missing a penalty against Iceland and being anonymous in a humiliating defeat against Croatia before sparking to life just when his team needed him the most with a superb three-touch control and finish in a crucial fixture against Nigeria. There is not a single player that can contain him there. And they probably couldn't have been handed a more daunting matchup than France, who are one of the favourites to win the tournament outright. Now it must find a way to stifle France, which has a greater variety of attacking talent.

"We have complete faith in our abilities", said Sampaoli. "Obviously what we want to avoid is the drawing of lots", said Colin Smith, FIFA's chief competitions and events officer.

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