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Messi’s last chance for national glory slips away in Kazan

30 Juin 2018

La Celeste have yet to allow a goal, their back line anchored by captain Diego Godin and his Atletico Madrid teammate Jose Maria Gimenez, who missed the squad's final group game against Russian Federation with a thigh injury.

Former Argentina national team head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino called the team's dramatic 2-1 win over Nigeria in their World Cup group stage finale "a huge relief" and feels it could spur the Albiceleste on to a deep run at Russian Federation 2018.

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.

Suarez's two goals saw Uruguay finish top of their group but it won't be just him who the Portuguese will have to pay attention to.

"I always believed that Argentina could win, so of course I feel a certain frustration, but this will make me stronger as a coach, to learn, to grow".

Yet if Argentina are to somehow shrug off the scathing recriminations and evident mutinies which accompanied their group stage games and respond by beating France to reach the quarter-finals, Messi's impact can not be underestimated. Two games, two clean sheets. Argentina is very strong psychologically and this will allow us to face the match with complete commitment.

Portugal barely advanced to Round 16.

Above a three-storey portrait of Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is the slogan: "I scored four goals". The game will also be streaming on TSN.ca and available on TSN Direct. A key reason why Croatia is considered a legitimate contender for the title.

He is forecasting that it is the end of the line for Argentina and Lionel Messi, but that Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo march on, while Brazil will also be among those to reach the quarter-finals. "He is the one who set the game and made the ball valuable".

Francisco "Isco" Alarcon (Spain) - He's Spain's most influential and watchable midfielder, which is a feat in itself considering its embarrassment of riches in that area, with his creativity and superb technique.

Ronaldo - with his eternal rival Messi now out of the way - will be looking to further burnish his reputation against Uruguay in Sochi in the later game on Saturday as he bids to overtake England's Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot.

He scored a stunning goal from distance in the 1-1 draw against Switzerland and, thanks to wonderful balance, skill and control, has emerged from Neymar's shadow in his country's opening three games. With his victor against Morocco, he became the second-highest worldwide scorer in the history of the men's game, with 85 and counting.

We know Messi is great but we're confused and sad for him.

Messi’s last chance for national glory slips away in Kazan