Messi & Ronaldo face off in rival Kazan murals (VIDEO, PHOTO)

Arnold Nichols
July 1, 2018

Argentina's forward Lionel Messi takes part in a training session at the team's base camp in Bronnitsy.

Biglia made 57 appearances for Argentina, scoring one goal, since making his debut in a 2011 friendly against Portugal. Today, though, you have to say they are not a good team.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in Portugal's first game against Spain.

"From the hands of God, to the fingers of shame", read one headline in Latin America, referring to Maradona's "Hand of God" goal against England at the 1986 World Cup.

It would probably start with "Messi doesn't have the right team and the coach doesn't know how to utilise Messi properly", before going on to, "One man alone can not do everything, football is a team sport", and end it with "It isn't Mess's fault, Argentina were just not good enough for him".

This marked the first time in 10 World Cup matches (going back to 2006) that England scored more than one goal.

The World Cup is in knockout mode and with half of the 32 national teams already culled, including 2014 champions Germany and the Socceroos, the tournament moves into overdrive.

Now after fighting to advance from their group, Argentina will face their toughest test of the 2018 World Cup so far, when they battle France in the Round of 16.

The footage showed Sampaoli having a discussion with Messi, before bringing on striker Sergio Aguero as a substitute during the dramatic 2-1 win over Nigeria that secured Argentina's passage to the last 16.

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.

As sarcastic as it may seem, that is the reality of the extent of burden Lionel Messi has been made to bare by their heavily tattooed coach. The ageing defenders have shown that they are vulnerable with pace, Suarez certainly will be looking to unsettle the duo if Uruguay is to make it to the quarters.

It goes without saying that Cristiano Ronaldo will be the main man for Portugal against Uruguay.

There was more talk of working as a team over in Bronnitsy, where Argentina have settled at the World Cup. These two traits of a great team has been non-existent in this Argentinian side. As per the rules, a player picks up one match ban even if he picks up a yellow card in two different games. "He should go on vacation with his family and he should keep playing football because the day that Messi decides not to play, we are all going to find out what a great player he really is".

Mercado said Pavard's goal "came so fast and didn't give us much time to recover and get back on defence", adding: "Our dream was to reach the final and we could not do that". My hair stands on end just thinking about that moment.

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