Argentina | France | Lionel Messi | Jorge Sampaoli | World Cup | 2018 | Football | Onmanorama

Messi Antonella Rocuzzo

Messi's wonderful first half goal inspired Argentina's revival after a disastrous 3-0 defeat in their second game in Russian Federation, with their dramatic 2-1 win in their last Group D match setting up a second round clash against France on Saturday.

"Our first goal for this World Cup was to pass the group stage but that doesn't really satisfy myself or the team".

Sampaoli reportedly asked Messi whether he should bring on Sergio Aguero in their eventual 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the decisive group game.

"As I have said before, my players play with heart, they are true rebels".

"What's important is that we went through", said Messi, who had been cheered on by compatriot Diego Maradona watching from the stands, along with a massive following of passionate and loud Argentine supporters. "You put it on your leg?", to which the footballer replied, "I wanted to say thank you".

"I am sure France have their own plan to neutralise Leo, but we have our own plan to make his life easier - so let's see who has the best luck executing their plan".

Messi, 31, has come under fire for his performances in Russian Federation, where his classy opener against Nigeria helped Jorge Sampaoli's men into the last 16.

Messi told everyone that it was either life or death.

Argentina's Lionel Messi shocked the media after their win over Nigeria by revealing he wore a good luck charm given to him by a reporter. We follow every game.

As the drama unfolded in St Petersburg, Iceland was simultaneously fighting with all its Nordic might for a win over the Croats in Rostov-on-Don that could have sent them through.

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.

He has faced intense scrutiny at this World Cup, especially after the 3-0 defeat by Croatia. We knew it was going to be a hard afternoon, but fortunately we have achieved our aim. "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".

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