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Messi to have view of giant Ronaldo mural from Argentina's team hotel

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Denmark play France in the final round of group matches. AFP

Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli consulted Lionel Messi about substitutions mid-game as the Albiceleste overcame Nigeria to progress to the last 16 of the World Cup.

As Iceland lost 2-1 to Croatia, Marcos Rojo's 86th-minute volley sent Argentina through as runners-up at Nigeria's expense.

"Well, I remember that point in time, but everything I mentioned to the players is personal and I don't think it's for the public domain, it was a simple exchange I had with a player", Sampaoli said.

Fazio said it was a change in mindset that was crucial for Argentina, who face France in the last 16 Saturday. "You put it on your leg?", to which the footballer replied, "I wanted to say thank you".

Messi, 31, has come under fire for his performances in Russian Federation, where his classy opener against Nigeria helped Jorge Sampaoli's men into the last 16.

Then against Croatia, Messi was anonymous as the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic bossed the game and they ran out 3-0 winners.

However, during one of the post-match session, an Argentine reporter, Rama Pantorotto, handed Messi his mother's lucky charm, a ribbon of sorts saying that would bring him good luck in the tournament going forward.

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"I have not made a proper analysis of Argentina's style yet".

But its past World Cup exploits and ability to produce one great footballer in every generation gives it a global fan base, perhaps rivalled only by Brazil.

He said: "Messi came up to us and told us to calm down and not be stressed".

However, he also thought that it was more than just Messi who could punish the French.

"A coach who has to train Leo knows everybody surrounding him needs to make him feel secure, and if we're able to create passes to Leo we can create opportunities because otherwise we suffer", Sampaoli said after the win in St Petersburg.

"What is important is the whole team defends together, not just as individuals or the midfield player in his area".

Despite the need for a late goal to earn a first win of the tournament and keep his team in it, Sampaoli feels they deserved their late fortune.

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