Face-off! Messi gets mural next to Ronaldo's in Kazan

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Perhaps we're getting too far ahead of ourselves, we nearly certainly are, but in seven days' time football fans around the world could be salivating over the prospect of Portugal versus Argentina in the quarterfinals, which would, of course, give us a showdown between Messi and Ronaldo.

Argentina, the beaten finalists four years ago, escaped by the skin of their teeth after a ragged group phase and will rely heavily on Messi when their ageing team face France in Kazan at 1400 GMT.

Ronaldo has already punished a top challenger, scoring three times in Portugal's tournament opening, 3-3 draw with Spain.

One day before a match that could decide so many things - perhaps even Lionel Messi's global future - Argentina's manager was on the defensive.

The highlight of its draw with mighty Argentina was Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson stonewalling Lionel Messi on a penalty kick.

"We will try to stop him but he's not the only one in this Argentina team, they have other strikers", a UK Daily Mail report, quoted Umtiti as saying.

Despite winning 128 caps, representing his country has looked increasingly a torturous ordeal in contrast to the joy Messi exudes in Barcelona colours.

The coach said France's characteristics of quick ball recovery and pace on the break through Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud would make them particularly risky if Argentina were unable to dominate possession.

Senegal created a piece of unwanted history, becoming the first team to be eliminated from the World Cup on the fair play rule.

Portugal is still looking for their first World Cup title, but for some reason Ronaldo does not appear to be under the same type of pressure that Messi has to win the elusive trophy. He got his first goal of the tournament in the 2-1 victory over Nigeria that put Argentina into the second round. You can see how hard it has been for every team.

Despite the speculation, Messi alluded to wanting to continue playing until he helped lead Argentina to a World Cup. For a quick guide at who plays who, and how they got here, check out our interactive wall chart below.

"Our group games left a mixed impression", France coach Didier Deschamps said yesterday (June 29). "But we know that if we show solidarity in defence, we can stop a player like him".

"We have complete faith in our abilities".

"We are talking about training a good set of professionals. Obviously what we want to avoid is the drawing of lots", said Colin Smith, FIFA's chief competitions and events officer.

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