Will Messi quit the global stage after Argentina World Cup pain?

World Cup | Mixed emotions for Man City stars

Not since 2002 have Argentina failed to make it to at least the quarter finals at the World Cup, although despite Sampaoli's struggles, not least trying to get the best out of Lionel Messi, he thanked his players for their efforts.

Russian Federation are hoping for a World Cup miracle on Sunday as the host nation take on 2010 winners Spain for a place in the quarter-finals after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi exited the tournament.

Aguero started Argentina's opening game against Iceland, scoring his first World Cup goal.

Diego Maradona has offered to replace under-pressure coach Jorge Sampaoli as manager of Argentina, and will even do the job for free. Ronaldo will be remembered at this World Cup for his hattrick against one of the favourites Spain.

That early morning June 30 game delivered a 3.9/12 in metered market ratings and 5.2 million for the Rupert Murdoch owned network.

The World Cup started with Messi missing a lot of chances, including that penalty, against Iceland, and that performance nearly seemed to knock the confidence out of the great man.

Notwithstanding that questionable call by referee Bjorn Kuipers of hand ball against Spain's Gerard Pique that allowed the home squad an opportunity to get a goal and tie the whole thing up, low ranked Russian Federation took another win with penalty shots in extra time.

Later on Saturday, two-time World Cup champions Uruguay battle reigning European champions Portugal as slim +180 chalk, while Sunday's action has Spain taking on host nation Russian Federation as a heavy -180 bet, and the surprising squad from Croatia clashing with Denmark as -120 favourites.

The loss meant that Messi has never been able to score in the knockout phase of a World Cup.

The departure of Germany, Argentina and Portugal has led to an unbalanced draw with the top half packed with favourites, now boasting of just Brazil and Belgium.

Facing Columbia on Tuesday, it remains to be seen if England can push on through. As Messi and Ronaldo have reached the latter, ever-so-slightly post-peak stages of their career, their shared sole objective has been to outdo the other, and to earn the right to sit one place higher in history's mythical "greatest ever player" leaderboard.

Some salivated over a potential Ronaldo v Messi quarter-final battle between Portugal and Argentina, when in truth France against Uruguay really is a much more tantalising game in almost every way.

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