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Javier Mascherano Announces Argentina Retirement After World Cup Exit

01 July, 2018, 03:10 | Author: John Swanson
  • Messi opens scoring for Argentina

With a day off after two weeks full of games, this is an appropriate time to look back before moving forward on Saturday with the Round of 16.

It was not so much his delicious opening strike against Nigeria that announced his belated arrival in Russian Federation - after all, Argentina still required a late Marcos Rojo strike to reach the last 16 - but a moment in which television cameras captured him rallying his team-mates in the tunnel shortly before the start of the second half. Thankfully, Batshuayi also has a sense of humor.

The group stage of the tournament was not as tough for France, who defeated Australia 2-1 in their opener, before a 1-0 victory against Peru guaranteed them advancement in Russian Federation.

Cheryshev's second goal made it a laugher.

Well, Messi and Argentina survived the scare of not making it to the round of 16 stage of the world cup.

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Messi vs. Ronaldo on the horizon?

England's Harry Kane, who is now leading the Golden Boot race with five goals, has been picked over Belgium's Romelu Lukaku, while Portugal captain Ronaldo completes the front three. Kane recorded a hat trick in that lopsided victory. Is the future going to be at this World Cup or rather Euro 2020? He just keeps scoring goals after goals.

Burns retains little sympathy for Maradona, whose antics during the Nigeria game only served to illustrate how far he has slid since his glorious World Cup triumph in 1986 - a success which still prohibits equal billing for the as-yet undecorated Messi in his homeland. Evident in games against Iceland and Croatia, he is nearly immediately surrounded by 3 players anytime he has the ball.

His first competitive outing since breaking a bone in his right foot in February was against Switzerland in Brazil's opening match and so a bit of rustiness from the 26-year-old should perhaps be expected. Xherdan Shaqiri provided the heroics with a goal in the 90th minute.

Croatia are many people's favorites to progress to the quarterfinals from Sunday's last-16 match with Denmark in Novgorod, but the Danes also possess a fine midfielder in Christian Eriksen and are unbeaten in 18 matches.

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Croatia pushed Argentina to the brink of absolute collapse after this rout. For me, that's what the World Cup is all about. Of those 24 spot-kicks, 18 have been scored.

Sampaoli was the subject of particular scorn during the Nigeria match when, according to reports in Argentina, he asked Lionel Messi if he wanted Sergio Aguero to come on .

France against Argentina will be followed by Uruguay's meeting with Portugal as the last-16 ties stretch across four days during Russian Federation 2018.

Interestingly, at the Nou Camp, Messi can count on Luis Suarez; it is a different ball game with Argentina, after Gonzalo Higuain has fired blanks in eight games with the Albiceleste. This was the third consecutive World Cup in which the defending champion didn't win its opening match.

Neither Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi have ever won a World Cup.

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Back in 2006, they defeated Netherlands 1-0 in the so-called "Battle of Nuremberg" to progress to the World Cup quarterfinals. However, they have lost their last three games in the World Cup knockout stages (1 goal scored, 5 conceded).

"We put forth this enormous effort in the first half, despite the fact that we didn't play well, but we found a way to score that second goal". The England captain was rested for the closing Group G loss to Belgium but remains one clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku and surprise star Denis Cheryshev.

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