It would be an interesting thing to track considering Ronaldo's Portugal and Messi's Argentina could meet in the quarters if they get past France and Uruguay respectively. Gimenez has returned to training and could be available to play against Portugal and his familiar Real Madrid adversary.
But perhaps Argentina's dramatic last-gasp qualification will have given Messi and company belief as they prepare to face a France team which, as one of the pre-tournament favorites, has failed to impress.
Many jokes poured in on social media regarding Argentina's unavoidable "pleasure" of looking at the winking Ronaldo from their hotel windows.
There have been suggestions that Messi is even deciding how Argentina should line up, but Sampaoli is adamant he is still in charge.
It would probably start with "Messi doesn't have the right team and the coach doesn't know how to utilise Messi properly", before going on to, "One man alone can not do everything, football is a team sport", and end it with "It isn't Mess's fault, Argentina were just not good enough for him".
France and Barca defender Samuel Umtiti, however, spoke about Messi's difficulties with Argentina on Thursday.
"We know that in 2018 they haven't lost any of their six games and didn't concede any goals", Portugal right back Cedric Soares said.Читайте также: Apple And Samsung Finally Settle Long-Running iPhone Patent Infringement Battle
"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".
Sampaoli said his team would summon more aggression against France, one of the favourites to win the tournament in Russian Federation. "They have a coach who clearly sees what he does but they don't have stars like France, Spain or Brazil".
Messi has endured a hard World Cup, failing to shine in their opening two games against Iceland and Croatia.
But, speaking on the eve of that second-round clash with France, Sampaoli said: "I remember that point in time but everything I say to my players is personal and I will not divulge what was said". There is not a single player that can contain him there.
He also, however, thought that it was more than just five-times World Player of the Year on the Argentina side who could punish the French.
"We have complete faith in our abilities".
Their achievements so far will count for little - as enjoyable as it has been, all we have witnessed so far has been a lengthy appetizer.При любом использовании материалов сайта и дочерних проектов, гиперссылка на обязательна.
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