How France ended Messi’s World Cup dream in 4-3 thriller

Neymar Brazil

It would be an interesting thing to track considering Ronaldo's Portugal and Messi's Argentina could meet in the quarters if they get past France and Uruguay respectively.

And Messi will face Ronaldo in the quarterfinals if Argentina overcome France and Portugal beat Uruguay. The same also goes for Uruguay and Portugal, two similar teams with similar strategies.

Argentina's Lionel Messi looking dejected after his team's defeat to France in their World Cup match.

Lionel Messi equalled a long-standing Diego Maradona record but is still yet to score a goal in the World Cup knockout stages.

There have been suggestions that Messi is even deciding how Argentina should line up, but Sampaoli is adamant he is still in charge.

Both Argentina and Portugal are playing their last-16 games on Saturday, knowing that they will meet each other in the next round if they win their respective matches.

Lionel Messi's sublime goal against Nigeria, with the "thigh of God" control, Brazilian Philippe Coutinho's strike against Switzerland and Luka Modric's devastating drill into the bottom corner in Croatia's 3-0 upset of Argentina.

"We have to play as a team". Yes, they got seven out of nine points, but that does not mean that they have a game that can easily outperform Argentina.

But being that England has only won six knockout matches at major tournaments since 1966 - the last knockout win at a major tournament coming at the 2006 World Cup - perhaps, on reflection, going full throttle against Belgium for the chance to play Japan would have been wiser. "It's not just in this World Cup that they have not been conceding goals".

However, Sampaoli says the conversation was "not how it was characterized".

Messi has spent the tournament trying to hold his unbalanced and ageing squad together, even apparently bypassing coach Jorge Sampaoli to give coaching instructions in the 2-1 win against Nigeria that saved the South Americans from the same fate as the Germans. "Our team is much younger, but it's there", Deschamps said.

"It's too soon to analyse concrete mistakes we could have made", said the coach, who added that he would not decide on his future immediately.

However, a stunning France comeback propelled by the mesmeric Kylian Mbappe put paid to Maradona's good mood and the realisation that Argentina were going home began to set in. We knew this day would come.

France, who made six changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Denmark last time out, were nearly ahead after nine minutes, but Griezmann's wonderful 25-yard free-kick crashed back off Franco Armani's crossbar.

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