FIFA WC: Lionel Messi fans ecstatic as Argentina enters round of 16

Messi Antonella Rocuzzo

Somehow, Argentina are through to the last-16 of the World Cup.

Sampaoli says he was informing rather than consulting Messi in an exchange during the team's last World Cup match that some have interpreted as him ceding authority to the Barcelona man.

Midfielder Ever Banega provided a great link up with Messi, spraying an inch-perfect pass for Messi's opener whilst controlling possession with his passing ability and creativity in the middle of the pitch.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli said that they are ready to go out and battle against France but they will look to control the ball and not get into a physical battle.

Argentina are expected to make several changes to their team for the match at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

The Manchester City striker, who scored Argentina's goal in their 1-1 draw with Iceland, was not involved in his side's winning strike against Nigeria, however, with defender Marcos Rojo the hero. "We will try to dominate the match by having possession of the ball".

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

"I was simply communicating this, saying we were going to use a strategy we had rehearsed to use more attacking players".

"If we do not control the play then it will be a physical game which would not suit us".

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.

Argentina have been engulfed in drama after failing to win their first two matches, and there were rumours before the game that the players had staged a coup and selected the team themselves.

"After the penalty we got nervous and were anxious about not going through, but we were very happy at the end", he said. I've seen him sad and I've seen him happy, like he was today. Rojo revealed that the Barcelona star's words at half-time had inspired his victor, and footage doing the rounds on social media on Wednesday also appears to support the idea that Messi's role isn't exclusively a playing one.

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