Messi can not be compared to Maradona, claims Argentina World Cup victor Kempes

Argentina must understand the big difference between Messi and Maradona, says Crespo

Croatia football legend Davor Šuker believes Argentina are favourites against his country in today's Group D Russian Federation 2018 FIFA World Cup game due to the presence of Lionel Messi but states they will go into the game without fear.

It was a hard night for Messi and Argentina. Argentina has underachieved for years during which the Albiceleste has become entirely too over-reliant on the mercurial playmaker.

With their star player Lionel Messi cutting a desolate figure, the South Americans were taken apart by the gifted European team whose midfield pair Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic outshone their more feted rival.

He is bearing the weight of expectations as Argentina seek a first World Cup trophy since 1986, desperate to crown his glittering career with a major global tournament success.

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But while the entire Argentine team was disappointing in the opening draw with World Cup minnows Iceland, Messi has come in for particularly harsh criticism taking a weak, throwaway penalty kick that gifted Iceland keeper Hannes Halldorsson with an easy save. Argentina probably shouldn't have been one of the favourites but with their history and one of the world's best players everyone automatically expects more of them than they should. Aguero got the goal against Iceland but he along with the others was largely anonymous thereafter - and certainly when Argentina needed them when time was running out to get a winning goal.

Argentina have a wealth of attacking talent but they are over reliant on Messi.

Who is Lionel Messi's wife Antonella Roccuzzo?

"The defeat is my responsibility because I am the coach", he said. And if such opportunities should arise, Sampaoli said it's imperative for Argentina to find the back of the net.

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In Group D, Croatia has six points and sits pretty in first place.

France, who edged past Australia 2-1 courtesy of an Antoine Griezmann penalty and an own goal in their Group C opener, vowed to ramp up the intensity against Peru in Yekaterinburg.

France is through with the six points, while Denmark and Australia are still alive.

"The first part of the game we were not convinced we could play against them, then they saw the solution and from then on we controlled the game and Denmark were afraid of us". This time it seems they want to cash-in on the World Cup fever. "As coaches we need to realize these things and I am the one who needs to accept that".

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