Messi stuns reporter by wearing ribbon sent by his mother

Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli consulted Lionel Messi about substitutions mid-game as the Albiceleste overcame Nigeria to progress to the last 16 of the World Cup.

To reach the knockout stages, Argentina must beat Nigeria and hope Iceland don't beat Croatia.

Clearly, there was plenty of relief at the result - both from Argentina's players and supporters.

The standout last-16 tie on paper pits France against Messi and Argentina, two teams who labored through the group stage.

Midfielder Ever Banega provided a great link up with Messi, spraying an inch-perfect pass for Messi's opener whilst controlling possession with his passing ability and creativity in the middle of the pitch.

"It is so clear, everyone can see that it was a clear handball and it is supposed to be a penalty", said Ogundeji.

Much has been made of the footage of the discussion before Sampaoli brought on striker Sergio Aguero as a substitute during the 2-1 win over Nigeria that secured Argentina's passage to the round of 16.

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Despite Argentina's group D travails, which included a 3-0 humbling at the hands of Croatia, Sampaoli is confident they can defeat a France side who took seven points from nine in Group C.

"We will mark him with the same respect we mark everyone, despite him being a superstar", said Sebastian Coates of Ronaldo. It's a team that will play the match with a lot of heart.

That scenario sparked debate ahead of Thursday's England-Belgium group match - was it better to win and enter the tougher side of the draw or lose and face potentially easier fixtures down the line?

The 31-year-old was being interviewed after the Iceland match, when Argentine reporter Rama Pantorotto from Telefe Noticias offered him a lucky charm.

"I was simply communicating this, saying we were going to use a strategy we had rehearsed to use more attacking players".

His catalogue of misfortunes include being run over by his own auto while his misbehaviour, ranging from drink-driving to getting sent off for abusing a referee, may have been a factor behind his omission from the World Cup squad four years ago.

The coach also spoke about France who will want to neutralize Lionel MESSI.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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