Lionel Messi not running the show, says Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli

30 June, 2018, 22:32 | Author: Isabel Grant
  • Neymar Brazil

While Messi produced only one, albeit sublime moment during the first three games, Ronaldo has inserted himself into the Golden Boot race with four goals on his tally heading into the knockout stage. "Portugal defend with all their players and it will not be different".

'We have to play as a team. "We need to be very united to stop them". He's become a more efficient goal-scorer of late, one who calculates every movement to devastating effect.

Aguero set up a tense finale when he headed in from close range in the third minute of stoppage time, but it was not enough to prevent Argentina - and Messi - from crashing out. It was only in the final group match that Marcos Rojo and talisman Lionel Messi fired La Albiceleste into the round of 16.

The unbalanced nature of the knockout phase increases the chances of an unlikely team reaching the semi-finals - and of the big guns cancelling each other out.

The coach had to contend with further doubts about his authority when it was alleged in the Argentine media that a touchline conversation with Lionel Messi during the Nigeria game included him asking the captain if he wanted Sergio Aguero to come on, something the 58-year-old has now denied.

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 flawless 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.

The Albiceleste scrapped into the last 16 of the World Cup after a dramatic win over Nigeria, and Sampaoli appeared to ask Messi for permission to bring on Sergio Aguero as they sought a late victor.

More news: Japan survives despite loss to Poland

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

Indeed, the Barcelona star missed a penalty against Iceland, and was anonymous as Argentina crumbled to a historic 3-0 defeat by Croatia. "It's often he who has prevented them from losing".

Talk of another World Cup seems unlikely for Messi, who has previously retired from the national team before donning the blue and white stripes once again. There is not a single player that can contain him there.

"We have complete faith in our abilities", said Sampaoli.

Lionel Messi, centre, eyes the ball during training. We knew what we wanted to do.

Argentina have been criticised for their reliance on Messi, although it was Marcos Rojo who scored a late victor against Nigeria Tuesday. Just one game stands between putting them on one pitch.

Recommended:

  • OPEC's meeting on 22 June likely to increase crude output

    OPEC's meeting on 22 June likely to increase crude output

    President Donald Trump repeated criticism of OPEC in another tweet on Wednesday, blaming the group for keeping prices too high. Official US production and inventory data is due to be published on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
    South Korea v Germany: Reus and Werner wary of pace and Son

    South Korea v Germany: Reus and Werner wary of pace and Son

    But the DFB have said they will not have access to the pitch during Wednesday's game against South Korea . ET on the final matchday, as Germany faces South Korea and Mexico takes on Sweden.
    Online Shopping Is About to Get More Expensive

    Online Shopping Is About to Get More Expensive

    The biggest online retailer, Amazon .com, took a small hit, even though it already collects taxes on its sales in all states. When Amazon opens a fulfillment center in a state, it starts collecting sales tax, noted the report.
  • Defeated Japan squeezes into World Cup last 16 thanks to fair play

    It was a risky strategy - a second goal for Poland or a Senegal equaliser would have eliminated them - but it ultimately paid off. It's the first time since 1982 that no African team has made it through to the knockout stage.
    Yerry Mina Goal Sends Colombia Past Senegal, into World Cup Knockout Stage

    Yerry Mina Goal Sends Colombia Past Senegal, into World Cup Knockout Stage

    The Colombians were forced into an early change and brought on Luis Muriel for James Rodriguez on 30 minutes. It means there is no African country in the knockout rounds of the World Cup for the first time in 36 years.
    Australia eye win to reach Round of 16

    Australia eye win to reach Round of 16

    The Socceroos have benefitted from strong play by central midfielder Aaron Mooy, who scored their tying goal against the Danes. André Carrillo was Peru's best player in the defeat to France and poised a real threat on the wing.
  • Stephen A: LeBron texted Kevin Durant about playing in LA

    Stephen A: LeBron texted Kevin Durant about playing in LA

    Therefore, it seems as though there's very little potential for any negative drama to happen between the two moving forward. During the postseason, James averaged 34.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 9.0 assists while playing 41.9 minutes per game.
    Apple iOS 12 public beta: How to install, top features, and more

    Apple iOS 12 public beta: How to install, top features, and more

    If not, using the new Control Center shortcut and toggling the feature off in camera settings (shown above) should fit the bill. If that sounds appealing, and you're not scared of inherent bugs, the iOS 12 public beta program is now officially open to all.

    Escalating trade fight weighs on global stocks, boosts Treasuries

    The EU has long blamed China for flooding its markets with cheap steel, and has imposed its own steep tariffs on Beijing . Amazon shares fell more than 3.5%, while shares of Google and Facebook fell 3.67% and 3.77%, respectively.
  • US Tells Allies to Stop Buying Iranian Oil, Says Waivers 'Unlikely'

    US Tells Allies to Stop Buying Iranian Oil, Says Waivers 'Unlikely'

    Rouhani said Iran maintained the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. Yet the Iran deal itself is still intact, without the US.
    England advances with 6-1 win v Panama

    England advances with 6-1 win v Panama

    England are now top of the group, despite the two countries having the same number of points, goal difference and goals scored. Lingard had a superb game, scoring a world-class goal and showing typically exquisite movement off the ball.
    Eurozone agrees deal to pave way for end to Greece's bailout

    Eurozone agrees deal to pave way for end to Greece's bailout

    Athens will have to undergo quarterly reviews of its finances (more frequent than during the bailouts) and adhere to strict budget constraints.


Popular

GOP Goodlatte Immigration bill vote defeated in blow for Trump, leadership
The lawsuit claims Trump's order is riddled with caveats and fails to reunite parents and children who already were separated. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., from districts with large numbers of Hispanic voters, helped force Ryan to stage immigration votes.

Did LeBron Text Kevin Durant About Teaming Up in Los Angeles?
Of course, if LeBron wants to build a team to dethrone the Warriors, taking away their best player would be a good start. Still, the news that James has reached out to Durant at all is pretty surprising.

Serena Williams seeding debate to rumble on as WTA considers rule change
The 36-year-old is now 183rd in the rankings but has called for players returning from pregnancy to have protected seedings. In turn, top players - such as defending champion Sabine Muguruza , French Open champion Simona Halep and reigning U.S.

Germany's shock World Cup exit another case of the winner's curse
Spain then almost doubled their lead before a spectacular header from Robin van Persie got the Dutch even. Ozil will likely take some time to relax, before starting preparations ahead of the new season.

State protection for Zimbabwe’s presidential hopefuls after blast
He said the attack was aimed at sowing "mayhem and turmoil" and described it as an "assault against democracy". The MSU hub is one of the six innovation centres to be launched at other State universities soon.

Moscow confectioners build life-size chocolate Messi for Argentine striker's birthday
But Fabregas points out that all of his strikes have come from either a set-piece, a penalty or a mistake. He does not have the quality in behind him when he needs someone who can help him build up the play ".

FIFA WC: Vela, Hernandez help Mexico win against S Korea 2-1
If Germany lose to Sweden in the evening's Group F game at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi then Joachim Löw's side will be out. According to oddsmakers, Mexico is a -149 favorite to win on the moneyline.

Rohr: Super Eagles Must Attack Argentina, We Can’t Play For Draw
However, it's possible neither will play, particularly as Croatia are virtually guaranteed top spot in the group. Tying one's first game at a World Cup doesn't have to be a big deal.

Senegal, Japan share the points in thriller
For the second straight match, Japan had high-profile support in the stands. Japan had only two. "But after that I think we did pretty well".

15-year-old boy fatally stabbed during dispute in the Bronx
The rapper donated to the family's GoFundMe for Lesandro's funeral expenses, which has raised more than $100,000 thus far. The family of the 15-year-old boy brutally murdered on a Bronx sidewalk on Wednesday is still reeling from his death.