I was informing not consulting Messi, says Argentina coach

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He believes that Lionel Messi can make the difference in the game. And for that to happen we will need the best skills of Ronaldo and incredulous performance from Messi to beat their opponents at the group of 16 and qualify for the quarter-finals, where they will collide for the match of the century; if it happens.

Man-of-the-match Mbappe brushed off comparisons with Brazil great Pele.

Cristiano Ronaldo's girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez sparked engagement rumours recently when she appeared to flash a diamond ring as Portugal took on Morocco.

"I'm very happy and it's flattering to be the second teenager (to score twice in the knock-out rounds) after Pele but let's put things in context: Pele is in another category, but it's good to be among these people", he said.

You hoped - no football fan will be unable to admire the Argentinian's extraordinary talents - that goal against Nigeria, where two delectable touches and a ideal finish, would reignite Messi's tournament; that the goal would be the catalyst for the little magician to turn on the style, like he does so often for Barcelona; that France would be the ones who would face his wrath next in the last 16.

Vying with Coutinho for the title of best midfielder at the World Cup is Croatia captain Luka Modric.

Neymar, the world's most expensive footballer, was ruled out of the World Cup four years ago after breaking a bone in his back in the quarterfinals and injury has also somewhat hampered his tournament in Russian Federation.

Ronaldo started off in Russian Federation in rousing form; a hat-trick against Spain in the opening match, the highlight of which was a sumptuous late free-kick to secure a point for his side.

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And finally, Thomas Vermaelen showed the aftermath of Belgium's clash with England. Both sides managed to progress from their groups, but without particularly impressing. It was Mina's headed goal against Poland in their second match that set the tone, and it was also his headed effort that earned Colombia a 1-0 win over Senegal on Thursday. This was the third consecutive World Cup in which the defending champion didn't win its opening match.

No matter what Lionel Messi does at the World Cup, Diego Maradona will be watching.

Time to say a sad farewell. "We need to know how to overcome the challenging moments which always emerge in these competitions", he said.

It was a cruel way to depart the tournament, though Senegal's coach Aliou Cissee, the youngest and only black coach at the tournament, said his team must "respect" FIFA's rules. The gap between the two teams is not as wide as many might think - it is all square.

Umtiti, who is expected to start dicey encounter after missing out of Les Bleus last group fixture against Denmark, revealed that stopping the Argentina's star is no easy task.

I achieved everything I dreamed of in football.

But what a main course to look forward to.

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