Monday, 16 July, 2018

Lionel Messi not dictating Argentina tactics, says Jorge Sampaoli

Nigeria take on Argentina on Tuesday. AFP Nigeria take on Argentina on Tuesday. AFP
Isaac Mcdaniel | 30 June, 2018, 08:31

Despite being on cloud nine after Jorge Sampaoli's side qualified for the last 16 of the competition, Messi still had time to complete another round of media duties before heading back to the team's hotel. Indeed, Argentinian journalist Fernando Niembro has even accused the captain of taking over squad selection duties from Sampaoli.

After an enthralling three rounds of fixtures at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation, during which the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo stood out and Lionel Messi struggled, we have put together a starting XI of stars who impressed the most in the group stage of the tournament! Argentina have made it to the Round of 16 and will face France on Saturday. Shortly afterwards, the Manchester City striker was introduced for the final ten minutes in Saint Petersburg, replacing defender Nicolás Tagliafico.

A 3-0 thrashing of Argentina came in between victories over Nigeria and Iceland in Group D as Dalic's team sailed through to the knock-out stage with nine points out of nine.

After drawing their opener with Iceland and being hammered 3-0 by Croatia in their second outing, a late victor from Manchester United's Marcos Rojo was enough for them to see off Nigeria 2-1 and seal their qualification for the knockout stage. "France is a very good team with skilled individual players".

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Uruguay have finished as first round group winners for the fifth time, having done so previously in 1930, 1950, 1954 and 2010. Suarez tossed aside his translation headphones, then smiled broadly in defiance and finally said: "What a waste of time".

The 31-year-old was being interviewed after the Iceland match, when Argentine reporter Rama Pantorotto from Telefe Noticias offered him a lucky charm. "You put it on your leg?", to which the footballer replied, "I wanted to say thank you". Let us know in the comments section below. But its past World Cup exploits and ability to produce one great footballer in every generation gives it a global fan base, perhaps rivalled only by Brazil.

People have said he doesn't enjoy playing for Argentina. "After that, they get a lot of goals within three or four touches". "We had several options in attack and I was just communicating to him that we'd be using one of the strategies that we'd rehearsed".

Sampaoli said his team would summon more aggression against France, one of the favourites to win the tournament in Russian Federation.

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