Umtiti believes Barcelona's Messi is not the same in Argentina

30 June, 2018, 22:32 | Author: Amy Huff
  • Messi opens scoring for Argentina

Yet Messi had a change of heart, returning to the fold to score a hat-trick in Argentina's decisive World Cup qualifier against Ecuador that booked their place in the field for Russian Federation.

Talk of another World Cup seems unlikely for Messi, who has previously retired from the national team before donning the blue and white stripes once again. It also happens with Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal and Real Madrid.

Adding fuel to the controversy, an unknown Ronaldo supporter challenged Messi by adding a phrase to the mural, which reads: "I scored 4 goals, can you beat that, Leo?".

Argentina will take on France at 2am tomorrow in the first match of the last 16 while Uruguay will take on Portugal at 6am tomorrow.

Ronaldo has admitted he is content to finish his career without a World Cup.

After struggling to find the net in the first two games, a draw and a loss, Messi scored a highlight reel opener as Argentina qualified for the last 16, thanks to a 2-1 victory over Nigeria.

Even debate over his status as Argentina's best may be swayed by Diego Maradona's role in nearly single-handedly winning the 1986 World Cup for his country in Mexico. The 26-year-old pulled off several fantastic saves in their 2-0 win over Joachim Low's side, which resulted in Die Mannschaft's shock exit from the competition. Quite what Brazilian legend Ronaldo, sitting on Maradona's right, made of it all is anybody's guess, though!

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They are on an eight-match winless run at World Cup finals but coach Shin Tae-yong was pleased with the endeavour of his team. Mexico were quick out of the traps in the opening half, pressing forward and passing well around the Korean team.

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They've come across each other on numerous occasions with their club sides in the high-stakes Spanish "Clasico" but to ensure a first-ever competitive meeting with their global sides, they need to navigate past tough oppositions in the round-of-16. In the group standings Portugal were only one goal behind Spain.

Federation Internationale de Football Association have declared the video assistant referee system, introduced to the World Cup finals for the first time in Russia, a success. This was the third consecutive World Cup in which the defending champion didn't win its opening match.

Time to say a sad farewell. However, he conceded that a team need to rely on experienced players. "You will see a team which will have a lot of motivation to win", Sampaoli said at Friday's press conference.

Umtiti, who is expected to start at the Kazan Arena after being rested in France's last group game against Denmark, said: "I see him every day".

And, of course, the German squad has already flown home after failing to progress from a group which included Sweden, Mexico and South Korea.

I achieved everything I dreamed of in football.

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