Messi shouldn't shoulder all responsibility - Sampaoli

Referee Damir Skomina and assistants Jure Praprotnik and Robert Vukan before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group D match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Ra

Referee Damir Skomina and assistants Jure Praprotnik and Robert Vukan before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group D match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Ra

Messi needs his team-mates to put their heads above the parapet, especially when things are not going Argentina's way, and take some of the pressure and weight off his shoulders.

Messi is bearing the weight of expectations as Argentina seek a first World Cup trophy since 1986, desperate to crown his glittering career with a major global tournament success.

With all the pre-match attention on Messi it was his Real Madrid counterpart Luka Modric who provided the game's true flashes of genius. "I believe I did the best job I could and I quite simply did not find a way to give them what they wanted". Every next game is going to be more hard, but our main objective has been reached.

In fact, the only reason Argentina are at the tournament in Russian Federation is that Messi dragged them there.

The Argentine footballer is married to his childhood sweetheart, Antonella. In the 10 qualifiers he played, Argentina won 21 points.

For many Argentines, that means while he may be the world's best player now, Messi has not entered the same pantheon as Maradona "El Pibe" (The Kid) who won the 1986 World Cup.

With Messi, Argentina finished third, on 28th points.

And former Federation Internationale de Football Association president Sepp Blatter said he believes the World Cup should return to England when Europe next gets its turn to host the tournament. Argentina could have a very similar set-up as they have Sergio Aguero.

Ramos, 32, was speaking after Spain's 1-0 win over Iran at the World Cup Wednesday and made it clear his Barcelona rival was far superior to Maradona.

Argentina wouldn't even be at this World Cup if it weren't for a Messi hat trick on the final day of qualifying.

Yet, Messi has been criticised for not delivering a trophy for his country. With a player of Messi's talent, it is a waste to confine him to one part of the pitch. "We'll definitely focus on them as whole and as a collective".

But who is his wife Antonella Roccuzzo, and when did they get married?

Unlike Argentina, there is structure to Portugal's play.

Messi's teammates have rallied around their superstar captain after his spot-kick was saved in the 1-1 draw against minnows Iceland on Saturday.

"Messi was at a standstill, he was off the pace, depressed", Latorre said. It was predictable and ineffective.

A curiously lifeless and uninspired Argentine display was capped off by Caballero's mistake when he somehow managed to chip the ball just a few yards to Croatia's Rebic, following a Gabriel Mercado backpass.

He was on the edge of the game, but still created some openings with clever passes.

Keane's fellow panelist Ian Wright also backed Ronaldo in his long-running battle with Messi, as he took his goal tally at Russian Federation 2018 to four after his victor against Morocco on Wednesday.

It all began with an error by Argentinian goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero. Argentina were undone by a soft centre and descended into a shambles.

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