Final chance gone for Messi?, Latest Football News

Neymar Brazil

Neymar Brazil

Perhaps we're getting too far ahead of ourselves, we nearly certainly are, but in seven days' time football fans around the world could be salivating over the prospect of Portugal versus Argentina in the quarterfinals, which would, of course, give us a showdown between Messi and Ronaldo.

First up is France versus Argentina. "If Ronaldo plays alone we will lose", Portugal coach Fernando Santos said.

Many jokes poured in on social media regarding Argentina's unavoidable "pleasure" of looking at the winking Ronaldo from their hotel windows.

Ronaldo tore out of the blocks in Russian Federation, smashing a hat-trick in his first game against Spain and he added another goal in the 1-0 win against Morocco.

Lionel Messi is not as effective with Argentina, as he does for Barcelona, says Samuel Umtiti. But there is one man, who has shunned these rumours and put a full stop to them.

The 1998 champions won 4-3 and looked a different side from the one that struggled to find their cutting edge in the group stage, pouring forward with pace and objective to stretch the ageing Argentine defence in Kazan.

France defender, Samuel Umtiti has said there is a difference between Lionel Messi at Barcelona and Argentina.

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'We have to play as a team. Messi was booked for time wasting late on in Argentina's must-win game against Nigeria.

The first phase in Russian Federation featured just one goalless draw and already a record number of penalties, with the video assistant referee (VAR) often in the spotlight.

Would you make any changes to this team?

After struggling to find the net in the first two games, a draw and a loss, Messi scored a highlight reel opener as Argentina qualified for the last 16, thanks to a 2-1 victory over Nigeria. There is not a single player that can contain him there.

The departure of Germany and Argentina's failure to win their group, have led to an unbalanced draw with the top half packed with favorites - five-time victor Brazil, Messi's Argentina, Ronaldo's Portugal, France and Belgium.

At 33 and 31 respectively, this may well be the last chance for Ronaldo and Messi to lift the World Cup, the quarter-final in Nizhny Novgorod potentially the last to see them clash at the World Cup and end that long-running debate.

"It's too soon to analyse concrete mistakes we could have made", said the coach, who added that he would not decide on his future immediately. "Obviously what we want to avoid is the drawing of lots", said Colin Smith, FIFA's chief competitions and events officer. Just one game stands between putting them on one pitch.

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