Sampaoli: Argentina will go out with a knife between their teeth

Neymar Ronaldo Messi

In the hours that followed La Albiceleste's opening 1-1 World Cup Group D draw with Iceland, Jorge Sampaoli had already been warned by Diego Maradona that the Argentina coach may not be allowed back to their homeland should the national team continue playing in such a lackluster manner.

If the Lionel magnet can attract 3 players of the opposing team to himself, imagine the possibilities if there was another playmaker in this Argentinian side.

"Our group games left a mixed impression", France coach Didier Deschamps said yesterday (June 29).

But defender Benjamin Pavard equalised with a thunderous strike to pull France level and once more change the complexion of the game.

Iceland, in its first World Cup, nearly made it and will remember how it held Messi and Co to a 1-1 draw. Denis Cheryshev - who'd never scored an worldwide goal heading into the World Cup - scored two goals in the win, including one right before the end of the first half that put Russian Federation up 2-0.

Man-of-the-match Mbappe brushed off the Pele comparisons.

Federation Internationale de Football Association said it had no plans to change its fair play criteria.

"But he's in another category".

However, the last player to score a World Cup goal in the knockout stages for Denmark was Brian Laudrup in 1998.

"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".

You never know, had it been a Barcelona shirt, and the players around him been a little better, Messi might have just turned that goalscoring machine on and dragged his team back into the game.

"We answered the call, we have a lot of character and it was not easy as we were leading, then there was an equaliser, then we were 2-1 behind, but we kept fighting. We are far from the required level". But if my career ended now I would be very proud.

Despite the criticism of Argentina, Sampaoli's side have moved into a last-16 clash with France on Saturday.

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.

But for that to happen both of their teams; Argentina and Portugal respectively, would have to qualify the round of 16 which is set to take place today.

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

Ronaldo tore out of the blocks in Russian Federation, smashing a hat-trick in his first game against Spain. The second match will be at 3AM Korea time Sunday, between Uruguay and Portugal. There has to be paid special attention to those world-class players but we're ready to play against anyone.

Ronaldo on the other hand started his tournament with a hat-trick against Spain but has slipped behind England's Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot after seeing his penalty saved in Portugal's 1-1 draw with Iran.

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