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Following a nervy start, Argentina took a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute, thanks to Messi's stunning shot, which was also the 100th goal of the tournament on whole.

Lionel Messi of Argentina icelebrates after he scores the opening goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Nigeria and Argentina at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 26, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

"We have suffered a lot", Messi said.

"If we defend without the ball, the capabilities of our players will be less than the rival". Of course, it was a huge relief, a relief for all of us. "Luckily we achieved our objective".

On Friday he faced questions about dealing with adversity, about Messi's mood, and the difficulties of setting up the Argentina team so their brilliant star could shine. Messi wore it all three games, they win the last one, and you can bet he'll be wearing it on Saturday against France in the round of 16. Messi is just like the rest of them when it comes to superstition.

"I have teammates I know very well at the back and up front". It is used for good luck and to keep away negative vibes created by jealousy, hatred and other things.

Sampaoli had been fiercely criticised after a 3-0 defeat to Croatia on Thursday left Argentina on the brink of an embarrassing early exit.

The two exchanged a few more words before Messi ran off, leaving the reporter stunned.

"We have to trust in our quality, we respect all our opponents but we don't concede that anyone is better than us,"said coach Zlatko Dalic. We make important decisions in games and I was simply explaining it, that we would use a strategy we had; using more attacking players".

"That day was my first Champions League game but I hadn't done anything special, I was just super focused", said Kimpembe, who is not expected to start at the Kazan Arena as Messi's team mate Samuel Untiti should be paired with Real Madrid's Raphael Varane.

"To say I am devastated would be an understatement".

The first phase in Russian Federation featured just one goalless draw and already a record number of penalties, with the video assistant referee (VAR) often in the spotlight.


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