Lionel Messi brilliance 'clouded' by Argentina struggles, says Jorge Sampaoli

Argentina 1

Getty WHISPERS Jorge Sampaoli is facing sexual misconduct rumours

This time it seems they want to cash-in on the World Cup fever.

The defeat leaves the Argentinians facing an ignominious repeat of their 2002 campaign when they also went out at the group stage after being tipped as possible World Cup winners.

Argentina have a wealth of attacking talent but they are over reliant on Messi. Argentina could have a very similar set-up as they have Sergio Aguero.

Things aren't looking good for Argentina's chances of getting through to the next round now.

Argentina, which has not missed the second round since failing to qualify for the 1970 World Cup, has not been eliminated.

Yet, Messi has been criticised for not delivering a trophy for his country. The responsibility for the defeat will be put on Messi. With a player of Messi's talent, it is a waste to confine him to one part of the pitch. The collective must function for the individual to shine.

But who is his wife Antonella Roccuzzo, and when did they get married?

Messi's teammates have rallied around their superstar captain after his spot-kick was saved in the 1-1 draw against minnows Iceland on Saturday. Everything came down the middle, where Iceland were strongest.

"After two games we should have four points", said Australia coach Bert van Marwijk.

He was on the edge of the game, but still created some openings with clever passes.

But it became harder in the 64th minute of Argentina's opener when his tame penalty was saved by Iceland's goalkeeper - watched inevitably by Maradona who had lapped up adoring cries of "Dieeeeego!" beforehand.

At home, Messi's face and number adorn billboards, masks and shirts around the nation, yet his life story does not command the same sympathies as Maradona, who rose from a grimy slum and showed his flaws with addictions to drugs and alcohol. Argentina were undone by a soft centre and descended into a shambles. An even rougher one would be if Iceland wins, which would throw out the above scenario and trigger the last case scenario for Messi's squad.

Check out the brand new daily JOE World Cup Minipod hosted by Dion Fanning and Paddy McKenna featuring Roy Keane rage, goal machine Ronaldo and why Sepp Blatter really loves Ireland.

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