Messi & Ronaldo face off in rival Kazan murals (VIDEO, PHOTO)

Nigeria take on Argentina on Tuesday. AFP

Nigeria take on Argentina on Tuesday. AFP

Messi's quest for World Cup glory faces a much tougher test on Saturday as Argentina face a highly-fancied France side in the last 16.

After a rough start to his 2018 World Cup campaign, Lionel Messi has settled in a bit, showing off his otherworldly abilities with his opening goal against Nigeria on Tuesday that helped Argentina secure a spot in the knockout round of the tournament. The extremely humble nature of the Argentina skipper made him wear the token of luck and it was nothing but an incredible act of humanity and kindness.

Then, after Marcos Rojo's 86th-minute victor secured Argentina's place in the last 16, he made a middle-finger gesture with both hands.

Held to a 1-1 draw by Iceland and thumped 3-0 by group winners Croatia, Argentina were hanging on by a thread coming into the Nigeria match, having proved they were vulnerable in defence and struggling to get Messi on the ball.

Argentina have been engulfed in drama after failing to win their first two matches, and there were rumours before the game that the players had staged a coup and selected the team themselves.

While Portugal and Argentina could potentially clash in the World Cup quarter-final, the battle between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is already underway in Kazan, where images of the stars have emerged next to a local hotel.

Following the win, Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo revealed his half-time speech spurred them on to win. "We have to do everything possible to make sure it goes well for us", said France coach Didier Deschamps. We could've conceded but Leo was stubborn.

Three clean sheets heading into the Round of 16 is an impressive feat, but Uruguay's manager Oscar Tabarez knows they have to be prepared for a threat as deadly as his opponent's captain.

"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.

"He's the best player on earth but we also have other players that can cause France some problems".

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