What Messi Did For This Reporter's Mother Is Pure Class

Messi Antonella Rocuzzo

Argentina endured a hard group stage at the World Cup, scraping through by the skin of their teeth thanks to an 86th-minute Marcos Rojo goal in a 2-1 win over Nigeria.

After the Albiceleste started their campaign with a draw to Iceland, in which Messi missed a penalty, and then a 0-3 loss to Croatia, the Barcelona superstar was criticized heavily.

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

Jorge Sampaoli defiantly dismissed any uncertainty about his future with Argentina and intends to fight to keep his managerial job for as long as he can. "That's not true and you saw it today", Sampaoli said. The extremely humble nature of the Argentina skipper made him wear the token of luck and it was nothing but an incredible act of humanity and kindness.

"Argentina had the zeal to still come back because they knew that yes they could still do it", he said, referring to the period in which a Nigeria penalty converted by Victor Moses levelled the match at 1-1 after Messi had opened the scoring.

Of the 23 players in the squad, 22 have been given playing time in Russian Federation so far and it is a measure of how deep their talent pool is that reserve midfielder Milan Badelj was named man-of-the-match against Iceland.

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Tunisia bowed out of the World Cup with a 2-1 win against Panama in the final Group G game, coming from behind to claim victory . On the other end, Kane's replacement up front for England , Jamie Vardy , tried his luck with a header.

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Even South Korea after two losses could still advance with a win over Germany and help from Mexico. The Swedes take on Mexico in Ekaterinburg, at the same time as Germany face South Korea in Kazan .

Following the win, Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo revealed his half-time speech spurred them on to win.

Remarkably, Gonzalo Higuain has not scored in his last eight matches for Argentina.Another aspect of the game will be France's capacity to prevent Messi from being fed by the opposing midfield, notably Ever Banega.

"Africa is going to be successful one day but we need to think again how we approach these big competitions", he told the BBC in his role as a TV pundit.

But its past World Cup exploits and ability to produce one great footballer in every generation gives it a global fan base, perhaps rivalled only by Brazil.

"I don't remember such suffering", said Messi when asked if it was the most tense match of his career.

With just 10 minutes left, Sampaoli had a hard decision to make with the Manchester City star sitting on the bench having also been withdrawn in the second half of the 3-0 defeat to Croatia.

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