Lionel Messi wins hearts with kind gesture

Lionel Messi-led Argentina's struggles in Russia come after their pre-tournament preparations were wrecked by controversy and poor form coupled with a reliance on a top-heavy limited squad

Lionel Messi and Marcos Rojo may have grabbed the headlines after scoring in Argentina's 2-1 win over Nigeria on Tuesday, but it was the decision to start Ever Banega in midfield that arguably had the biggest impact on Jorge Sampaoli's team.

But when the game was tied at 1-1 the Argentina manager was mulling over changes he could make to win the game in Saint Petersburg.

They will bank on Argentina's defensive struggles after the South Americans conceded five goals in three matches, notably losing 3-0 to Croatia.

Sampaoli was unstinting in his praise of Messi, describing him as "the best player in the world" and a "genius", but preferred to focus more on the display he expected from his whole team on Saturday.

'So tell her that thank you.' Pantorotto said he felt like he was going to have a stroke before turning to the camera and telling his mother, 'Dear Mamma!

Croatia's Luka Modric in action during their World Cup clash against Iceland.

"We'll play with a knife between our teeth", he said.

Argentina opened the tournament with a disappointing draw against Iceland, prompting a reporter to pass along a good-luck charm to Messi.

"France has a plan to neutralize Leo (MESSI) and we have a plan to better that".

"After the game, the analysis will follow the result".

Of the 23 players in the squad, 22 have been given playing time in Russian Federation so far and it is a measure of how deep their talent pool is that reserve midfielder Milan Badelj was named man-of-the-match against Iceland.

"How are we supposed to know what to do with football if we don't even know what to do with Lionel Messi".

"This is going to be a hard match, we are going to have to step up our level", Lloris said.

Pantorotto couldn't believe what he saw and the simple gesture by Messi goes a long way to show the humble footballer has a legion of fans world over not only because of his mad footballing skills but also for his kind heart.

A stunning Andre Carrillo volley gave Peru their first World Cup goal in 36 years before captain Paolo Guerrero grabbed a second as the Andean nation condemned Australia to a 2-0 defeat in Sochi on Tuesday and an early exit from Russian Federation.

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