Lionel Messi brilliance 'clouded' by Argentina struggles, says Jorge Sampaoli

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli again lauded Lionel Messi as the best player in the world on Wednesday and suggested the forward has faced "unfair" criticism following his costly failure to convert a penalty in their World Cup opener against Iceland.

Lionel Messi didn't have a chance and Argentina was destroyed by Croatia 3-0. Argentina has underachieved for years during which the Albiceleste has become entirely too over-reliant on the mercurial playmaker.

Lionel Messi's 31st birthday this weekend is an ominous reminder Russian Federation may be his last World Cup and final chance to emulate fellow Argentine great Diego Maradona in lifting the ultimate prize.

Argentina wouldn't even be at this World Cup if it weren't for a Messi hat trick on the final day of qualifying.

For many Argentines, that means while he may be the world's best player now, Messi has not entered the same pantheon as Maradona "El Pibe" (The Kid) who won the 1986 World Cup.

Second-half goals from Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic sealed a deserved victory as a poor Argentina were left on the brink of a humiliating first round exit.

As for the 0.4 percent that chose not to watch Alfred Finnbogason cancel out Argentina's opening goal and Messi miss a penalty, 0.3 percent of them watched a re-run of cooking programme "The Great British Bake-Off" and 0.1 percent plumped for a repeat of weight loss show "The Biggest Loser".

However so far in Russia, Messi has been overshadowed by Ronaldo, who took his tournament goal tally to four on Tuesday with the victor in Portugal's 1-0 defeat of Morocco, which condemned the Africans to an early exit.


"Every Argentinian is free to have the opinion they want".

"The defeat is my responsibility because I am the coach", he said.

Croatia, which reached the 1998 World Cup semifinals but has not advanced past the group stage since then, will face Iceland on Tuesday in Rostov-on-Don.

"Everything that happens to the team and the players' drop in form is down to the management".

Before the match, Dalic said this was going to be Croatia's "easiest game".

Away from the football, Burger King has apologised for an online ad offering burgers to Russian women who get impregnated by football players during the World Cup.

The 30-year-old's dream of winning the World Cup now look remote.


Popular
  • Ship with 900 migrants on board docks in Sicily

    Ship with 900 migrants on board docks in Sicily

    The vessel's journey came to an abrupt halt when the Italian Coast Guard told Aquarius to hold its position, the aid groups said. The Aquarius remains at sea south of Sicily, and will land in Valencia around Saturday, Doctors Without Borders said .
    Italy cries victory as Spain opens port to rescued migrants

    Italy cries victory as Spain opens port to rescued migrants

    Malta, for its part, has consistently refused to take in migrants , citing its small size and limited capacities. The 629 people on board include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and seven pregnant women.
    US, China reach $1.4bn sanctions deal over ZTE

    US, China reach $1.4bn sanctions deal over ZTE

    The company paid $892 million in fines, with an additional $300 million suspended to encourage compliance with the settlement. The gear maker pleaded guilty a year ago in federal court in Texas for conspiring to violate USA sanctions to Iran.
  • Why LA is better for LeBron James than Philadelphia

    Why LA is better for LeBron James than Philadelphia

    Several teams have been linked with moves for both players and there could be a scenario where they end up at the same team. But Lillard is too expensive on his current contract for the Lakersto afford him, George, and James in a practical way.
    Barty faces Konta in Nottingham final

    Barty faces Konta in Nottingham final

    The win is Barty's second career WTA title, having triumphed previous year at the Malaysia Open in Kuala Lumpur. The British No.1 won only one more point as Barty clinched victory with a backhand pass.
    Russian Federation  crush sorry Saudi Arabia 5-0 in World Cup opener

    Russian Federation crush sorry Saudi Arabia 5-0 in World Cup opener

    Russian Federation next play Egypt on Tuesday in St Petersburg while the Saudis face Uruguay the following day in Rostov-on-Don. Every World Cup needs the host nation to energise the population, and Russian Federation have ticked that box with this result.
  • Disney Ups Its Bid for Fox to a Whopping $71.3 Billion

    Disney Ups Its Bid for Fox to a Whopping $71.3 Billion

    Disney's latest move raises the hurdle for Comcast, which now has to decide whether it is feasible to come back with a higher bid. Disney and 21st Century Fox agreed to a deal Wednesday morning that values 21st Century Fox at $71.3 billion, or $38 a share.
    Trump Wants to Be Treated Like North Korea Chief Kim Jong

    Trump Wants to Be Treated Like North Korea Chief Kim Jong

    When Trump said the last line, he pointed towards the White House , which could suggest that he was referring to his staff. Trump later told CNN he was " kidding ". "I think I did the country a tremendous favor by firing him", said Trump.

    World No.1 Halep slides past Muguruza, into third RG final

    Keys slipped two breaks down in the second but although she pulled one back Stephens served out for the match. The victor earns a berth in the final at Roland Garros - plus the No 1 ranking that now belongs to Halep.
  • Suns might try to trade No. 1 pick for Kawhi Leonard

    Suns might try to trade No. 1 pick for Kawhi Leonard

    With two Defensive Player of the Year awards, he would significantly improve what was one of the league's worst defenses in 2018. The 26-year-old played only nine games this year as he was sidelined for the majority of the season with a quad injury.
    Trump seizes on IG report to tout firing Comey

    Trump seizes on IG report to tout firing Comey

    The FBI obtained a warrant nine days before the presidential election to review those emails, found on the laptop of former Rep. At least among Trump's hardline supporters, the response would inevitably refer back to Clinton and the email controversy.
    How to have tough conversations about mental health

    How to have tough conversations about mental health

    The study also found that 54% of individuals who killed themselves had not been diagnosed with a mental-health condition. If you ever feel like you need to talk through any tough situation, Kern's Crisis Hotline is a 24-hour line for help.

CONNECT