France vow to end Lionel Messi's World Cup dreams

Antoine Griezmann apologises for France performance against Denmark

French players celebrate after scoring their first goal on a penalty kick during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group C football match between France and Australia at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 16, 2018.

Messi has yet to light up the World Cup in a stuttering Argentina side.

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.

"Messi has had a great performance with the national team, he always shows complete commitment and I hope he'll be around for many years".

Manager Jorge Sampaoli came under heavy pressure after naming very different line-ups and formations during the draw with Iceland and 3-0 defeat against Croatia.

"It's normal he wasn't as confident as normal because we didn't start the tournament so well", said Sevilla midfielder Banega.

Captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris backed Griezmann to make his mark at the tournament. "He's got outstanding qualities", he said, according to the Daily Express. "If you've played against him already, you may be aware of some situations that repeat themselves".

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The normally rock solid Neuer spilled a free kick in the first half but his counterpart, Jo Hyeon-woo, didn't put a foot wrong. Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 and would have advanced anyway, but Mexico would have been eliminated had Germany won.

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Benjamin Mendy will miss out for France through injury, having come off the bench in their dead rubber with Denmark last time out.

Argentina have gone past the first round for the 12th time in their last 13 World Cup appearances, the only exception coming in 2002. The teams will score at least one goal apiece, so bettors should take the over.

His club teammate Samuel Umtiti, however, believes that Messi is different from the player he is for Barcelona.

A similar pattern applied to Argentina in 1978, when they won the World Cup after losing to Italy in the group phase."Lots of teams who went on to be champions started poorly and then recovered and moved on", Daniel Bertoni, who scored against the Netherlands in the final that year, told Reuters.

This game sounds like an absolute cracker but, if I'm being honest, it's not really.

Neither Argentina or France have looked impressive as of yet but surely they will turn it on for the knockouts? They look like a exhausted team and that's why I'm going for France.

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