Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo prepare for second round action

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If you are a Lionel Messi fan, one of those die-hard ones, who can not hear anything bad about their idol, you will, no doubt, find a way to excuse Messi and his performances in this Fifa World Cup. Can he keep it going against Ronaldo and Portugal in the last 16? And yet we left that tournament after three games, without scoring a goal.

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.

From Cristiano Ronaldo's stunning hat-trick in the opener against Spain to Ricardo Quaresma's screamer against Iran, its been a World Cup to savour so far for Fernando Santos and his squad.

"France is certainly a candidate to win [the World Cup]".

Coincidentally, the same hotel was chosen by the Argentinian team, who were forced to make reservations there after their French counterparts booked the Mirage Hotel - the other one of the two residences in the city licensed for the World Cup.

The three-storey portrait of Ronaldo was painted on a building behind the Ramada Hotel to welcome the five-times World Player of the Year when Portugal played in the capital of Tatarstan in the 2017 Confederations Cup. And before the potential Ronaldo-Messi clash, there are some intriguing individual battles as sub-plots in Saturday's matches.

That may be why the former Chile coach felt that he could not have the team playing in the way that he wanted them to.

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But their response to that was magnificent as they went quickly retook the lead, Rodrigo Bentancur teeing up Cavani for a magnificent first-time curling strike into the far corner on his right foot. "He is the one who set the game and made the ball valuable".

Mbappe was born in the Paris suburbs in 1998, the year Les Bleus secured their first World Cup title under captain Didier Deschamps.

It goes without saying that Cristiano Ronaldo will be the main man for Portugal against Uruguay.

"There is so much expectation around Messi, which I think is normal, but still I think the Argentina team has a lot to show", said Lloris.

France and Barca defender Samuel Umtiti, however, spoke about Messi's difficulties with Argentina on Thursday.

The game against France is a showdown between Messi and Antoine Griezmann, who at the start of the summer looked destined to join the Argentine at Barca but eventually opted to prolong his stay at their Spanish rivals Atletico Madrid. "We gave everything until the end", he said amid tears and disappointment after the game. "The last World Cup marked me a little".

"After the first game [against Iceland] I gave you a good luck amulet that my wife gave me, I don't know if you threw it away or something", the reporter asked following Argentina's win over Nigeria. Just one game stands between putting them on one pitch.

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