Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Messi & Ronaldo face off in rival Kazan murals (VIDEO, PHOTO)

Messi & Ronaldo face off in rival Kazan murals (VIDEO, PHOTO)

We'll wait to see whether France's talented but young side can click better to overcome Lionel Messi's Argentina and book a ticket to the quarter-finals.

Ahead of Portugal's stay in the same hotel for the Confederations Cup a year ago, a piece of Ronaldo graffiti was created by Naberezhnye Chelny to mark his arrival.

As the second round of the FIFA World Cup gets underway on Saturday with France taking on Argentina, there are bigger concerns for some players and even more for team management of respective teams.

Many jokes poured in on social media regarding Argentina's unavoidable "pleasure" of looking at the winking Ronaldo from their hotel windows.

Kazan artists worked through the night today painting a mural of Argentina's Lionel Messi to match one of Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo on a building opposite, saving the blushes of the World Cup host city.

Lionel Messi's new hotel room could come with a very interesting view for the Argentina captain.

"But it's not how you characterised it, we had several options in attack and I was just communicating to him that we'd be using one of the strategies that we'd rehearsed".

"I don't think we have high-quality performance, we need to change our lifestyle because it is not in line with high-level football, we need to change the way we train".

Bulldog named Zsa Zsa wins World's Ugliest Dog contest
Zsa Zsa spent five years in a puppy farm before she was adopted by Ms Brainard, who put the win down to her charming the judges. The nine-year-old's muscular, rounded front legs and an underbite made her standout from the rest of the crowd.

A World Cup title for either of them will tilt the scales in their favour for it has always been a barometer for success.

The 58-year-old coach, speaking on the eve of Saturday's clash with France at the Kazan Arena, said the incident had been misinterpreted.

Messi's start was nearly the opposite, missing a penalty against Iceland and being anonymous in a humiliating defeat against Croatia before sparking to life just when his team needed him the most with a superb three-touch control and finish in a crucial fixture against Nigeria.

Messi has lost three major finals with Argentina in the last four years, including the 2014 World Cup showpiece against Germany. And this present World Cup could prove a deciding factor in who goes down as the best in the world during the Ronaldo/Messi era.

Subsequent reports have suggested that Sampaoli conferred with Messi before introducing Sergio Aguero from the bench in the 2-1 victory over Nigeria, which secured Argentina's place in the last 16. At 31, an age when many players begin to decline, the pressure on him is vast. "They are among the very best contenders and we will need to be very consistent to come out on top of a very hard match".

"It's too soon to analyse concrete mistakes we could have made", said the coach, who added that he would not decide on his future immediately.

The departure of Germany and Argentina's failure to win their group, have led to an unbalanced draw with the top half packed with favorites - five-time victor Brazil, Messi's Argentina, Ronaldo's Portugal, France and Belgium. We knew what we wanted to do.

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