Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Messi and Ronaldo face tough challenges

Jorge Sampaoli explains touchline exchange with Lionel Messi over Aguero sub World Cup roars into knockout phase World Cup roars into knockout phase
Chelsea Rogers | 01 July, 2018, 08:08

"We need to fix many things in Argentinian football, but I prefer to do this from inside and not criticise from outside", he said.

A comprehensive defeat to Uruguay provided a reality check but Russian Federation and striker Denis Cheryshev will be roared on by much of the 80,000 crowd in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and they see no reason to fear Andres Iniesta, Isco and Diego Costa.

Messi's Argentina, however, were unable to quell a rampant France side who had finally found their feet at the World Cup and could only watch as Kylian Mbappe scored two goals in an eventual 4-3 thriller of a win. "If it were not for the injuries, he (Cristiano Ronaldo) would have been the best of all history", he said. He scored 10 goals in 5 appearances for the country, which included a hat-trick against Argentina in the quarterfinals.

Schmeichel was full of praise for an attacking duo he had warned about before the game.

"If I had to choose, I would never have any doubt".

Nigeria, Argentina go to 'war'
If Iceland wins, then Sampaoli's side can still qualify if it beats Nigeria by two more goals than Iceland wins its game. Argentina play Nigeria in their final group game, a match which could go on to decide the fates of both the sides.

"This is a flawless ball in, to a striker who's very good in the heading department, and he doesn't miss from there", said Schmeichel.

"Pepe slipped in with a really good header", Schmeichel said of the defender's 55th-minute goal, before finding fault with the 35-year-old for the goal which saw Uruguay re-take the lead. Three minutes into the second half and Argentina were ahead, Messi curling a shot hopefully towards Lloris and right back Mercado reacting instinctively to deflect the ball into the net.

'But it's those who score more goals who win. The Brazilian legend tweeted to the Frenchman: "Congratulations, @KMbappe, 2 goals in a World Cup so young puts you in great company".

Luiz Felipe Scolari's charges reached the semi-final in 2006 whilst Ronaldo was still far from the complete player he is now, and in 2010 the team were eliminated in the last 16 by Spain. "Ronaldo huffed and puffed, but there was nothing really in that", Schmeichel said of the closing stages against Uruguay.

Maradona is in Russian Federation to watch the World Cup and has been a lively presence at Argentina matches, celebrating his country's dramatic win over Nigeria and resulting progression to the last 16 with an offensive gesture.

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