Mascherano retires from international football after World Cup exit

Neymar Brazil

GETTY ITVNeymar started for Brazil against Serbia tonight

Burns retains little sympathy for Maradona, whose antics during the Nigeria game only served to illustrate how far he has slid since his glorious World Cup triumph in 1986 - a success which still prohibits equal billing for the as-yet undecorated Messi in his homeland.

Fortunately, though, the football showpiece in Russian Federation is now offering a chance to end that enduring debate about which of the two is the best player of their generation. "It's not just in this World Cup that they have not been conceding goals".

He's gone from being homeless and working in a vehicle wash to keeping a clean sheet against Morocco, repeatedly thwarting Spain until an unlucky goal, and saving a penalty from Ronaldo as Iran almost sent Portugal home. He missed a penalty against a film maker and here he is again, failing to sparkle when his shine was needed.

Even coming off another extraordinary season with Barca, it was never sure Messi would be able to replicate that form with the national team and Russian Federation will have barely noticed his presence. Like Kane, he'll need to repeat these exploits against tougher opposition but has made an impressive start. Argentina will be clashing against France on Saturday.

Here's a look at Messi and Ronaldo's World Cup history. I really think I have achieved so many nice things that I don't have any more dreams.

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France will play either Uruguay or Portugal in the last eight. "That is something to pay attention". Edinson Cavani is an equally potent goal-scorer.

The others were all centred on Messi: what he brought to the team, how he had taken Argentina's woeful start to the World Cup, whether he had developed as a character through their time together in the national team.

Neymar, Phillipe Coutinho and their Brazilian teammates have played themselves into form and should account for a Mexico team that were well beaten by Sweden and appears likely to continue a consecutive streak of round of 16 eliminations, which dates back to 1994. The best strategy is to prepare in training. It is very hard to stop him.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) - Is he the GOAT? He's become a more efficient goal-scorer of late, one who calculates every movement to devastating effect. "And hopefully Argentina arrive at that, but there is still a long way to go".

Argentina have advanced to the knockout round of every World Cup since South Korea-Japan 2002, however with minutes remaining and locked in a 1-1 draw with Nigeria, the South Americans were staring at elimination until Marcos Rojo's 86th-minute victor.

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Pepe's goal was the first time the South Americans' defence had been breached in this tournament, but they stood firm after that and are beginning to look like genuine contenders moving into the latter stages in Russian Federation.

Argentina are staying at Ramada, a four-star hotel that comprises of many rooms overlooking a two-storey painting of the five-time Ballon d'Or victor that doesn't hail from Rosario.

Honestly speaking, I believe that Lionel Messi is not being treated fairly. Then France and Denmark kicked the ball around disinterestedly in a mutually beneficial 0-0 draw that allowed both teams to advance. When they were very close to losing, he often was there. At 31, an age when many players begin to decline, the pressure on him is vast.

Sergio Aguero gave Argentina late hope but they ran out of time and head home after a rollercoaster ride in Russian Federation that ultimately ends in bitter disappointment for the two-times former champions.

He said: "I am sure France has a plan to neutralise Leo - but we have our own plan to make his life easier".

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Kieran Trippier (England) - A surprise choice as England's set-piece taker, the right back gets the nod over line-mate John Stones for setting up more chances than any other player in the first round of matches and being a constant danger in the 6-1 win over Panama, assisting on one of the goals. The onus laid on Lionel Messi to replicate or even do better. Just one game stands between putting them on one pitch.

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