France v Argentina – 4:3
This was perhaps Messi’s final, real chance at lifting the World Cup but Argentina just didn’t have what it took to overcome France in the round of 16 as they succumbed to a 4:3 defeat. Griezmann opened the scoring with a penalty however four minutes from half time, Di Maria made it level with a sublime strike from outside the box, per online sportsbook news.
Then in the second half, Messi took a shot that got deflected off Mercado and when inside the net, thus giving the Argentine’s confidence and hope. But the 2-1 scoreline was equalized again by Pavard’s goal only moments later, and then teenage sensation Mbappe sealed a brace for himself in a span of 4 minutes, which saw the scoreline change to 4-2 for the French.
Aguero, who started the game on the bench, found the back of the net in stoppage time and the Argentines then mounted another last minute attempt at goal to try and take the game into extra time, but in the end it was in vain as the referee blew the whistle at 4:3 for France.
By the time the next World Cup (2022 Qatar) comes around, Messi will have been almost 35 years of age, so it’s doubtful whether his form and goalscoring abilities will be on the same level as now. With him being 31 now, it’s likely that his skills could decline by the time, and not to mention the other big names from the Argentine squad who will also be around the same age as Messi four years from now.
Uruguay v Portugal – 2:1
With Ronaldo also going home after Portugal’s defeat to Uruguay on Saturday evening, the 2018 World Cup has been left without the two biggest stars on the planet. The South American side took an early lead after Cavani struck the back of the net in the 7th minute of the match. The scoreline remained 1-0 for Uruguay until the 55th minute when Pepe’s shot saw it change to 1-1, but only 7 minutes later Cavani again sealed a goal that sent Portugal crashing out of the 2018 World Cup, as they weren’t able to impose themselves after that and change the scoreline.
Just like in Messi’s case, it’s questionable whether we’ll see Ronaldo lead Portugal to another World Cup, as turned 33 in February, online sportsbooks in Portugal report. By the next tournament in 2022 Qatar, he will have been 37 years of age which is considerable for any top footballer but especially for a forward like himself. Although to his credit, Ronaldo seems to be taking exceptionally good care of himself which allows him to defy a decline in form that naturally comes with age, as he’s still bagging goals with ease.
So it wouldn’t be too big of a surprise to see him play yet one more time at the biggest football tournament in the world. Messi, on the other hand, has already retired once from the Argentina national squad (before coming back), so we could see him retire for the second time now following the terrible campaign the Argentines have just had under manager Sampaoli.