Argentina, Portugal a win away from epic Messi-Ronaldo showdown
Football has always remained a team sport, but by the look of it, the ongoing FIFA World Cup seems to be more about one particular individual battle.
The debate about who is the better footballer is Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo is an ever-lasting one. And while it may not be possible to pick either, one thing is certain: Ronaldo has had a better World Cup 2018 than his Argentine counterpart. The Portuguese has scored on four occasions to help his side to two draws and a win, whereas Messi, barring his goal against Nigeria in the must-win encounter on Tuesday, has cut a sorry figure.
However, all the stats and trivia dwarf in comparison to the thought of these two larger-than-life footballers coming together for a match. While the two have squared off countless times for their respective clubs in the La Liga, Messi and Ronaldo have not faced each other much at the international level; that is, before now. For their ardent fans, if everything turns out well, Argentina will face Portugal in the quarter-final of the FIFA World Cup 2018. They are the two greatest footballers of modern football, and yet they have never faced each other on the world's biggest stage but that can change in Russia.
Portugal, with five points, is placed second in Group B. So are Argentina with four points. If Portugal beat Uruguay and Argentina defeat France, the two behemoths of world football will square off against each other in one of the most anticipated World Cup games of all time, and more importantly, pit Ronaldo and Messi against each other. The two greatest footballers of the today's era against each other in a World Cup knockout match. The stakes couldn't get any higher.
Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in Portugal's opener against Spain and followed it with another goal against Morocco. His off-day against Iran should not be read too much into, he missed a penalty for Ronaldo always ups his game for crucial encounters. Messi, on the other hand, has largely been kept quiet. He missed a penalty against Iceland that resulted in a draw and hardly had possession of the ball against Croatia. But regained his touch against Nigeria where he thudded a goal in the 14th minute to get Argentina going in a must-win encounter.
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