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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Cristiano Ronaldo's World Cup goals questioned by Cesc Fabregas

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop says we're seeing a different Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal, a player who is becoming the leader his country needs.
Lionel Messi and Argentina absolutely imploded in Novgorod, falling 3-0 at the hands of Croatia who punched their ticket to the knockout stages.
The FC crew lay into Jorge Sampaoli and inspect Lionel Messi's negative demeanour after Argentina's embarrassing defeat to Croatia.
ESPN's Sam Borden reports from Nizhny Novgorod Stadium where Lionel Messi takes centre stage against Croatia.
The ESPN FC guys answer your tweets on Cristiano Ronaldo's new look and whether Uruguay can win the World Cup.
Relive Cristiano Ronaldo's historic day for Portugal despite Morocco controlling proceedings for large portions of the match.

Cesc Fabregas has played down the contribution of Cristiano Ronaldo at the World Cup and said that Argentina's struggles are not all Lionel Messi's fault.

Writing in a column for BBC Sport, Fabregas, who was left out of Spain's squad for this summer's tournament, said that Ronaldo's four goals in two games, including a hat trick against La Roja, "have come from set-pieces, penalties or mistakes."

Fabregas also praised former Barcelona teammate Messi and bemoaned Argentina's lack of quality as they...

Lionel Messi appears helpless as Argentina's World Cup dream fades

The FC crew lay into Jorge Sampaoli and inspect Lionel Messi's negative demeanour after Argentina's embarrassing defeat to Croatia.
ESPN's Sam Borden shares his thoughts on Croatia's 3-0 win which leaves Argentina on the brink of a World Cup exit.

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia -- All around this stadium, from the VIP seats where Diego Maradona was sitting all the way to the tippy-top rows cut just beneath the roof, everyone in the building looked for the electric-green shoes. They were bright. They were bold. They were all but glowing on this cool and breezy night.

They were on the feet of Lionel Messi.

This was supposed to be a night for Messi to sparkle, to follow up what Cristiano Ronaldo did for Portugal on Wednesday and drag his Argentina...

ESPN FC  By ESPN

Luka Modric: Croatia 'cut off' Lionel Messi from receiving the ball

Lionel Messi and Argentina absolutely imploded in Novgorod, falling 3-0 at the hands of Croatia who punched their ticket to the knockout stages.
World Cup: Ante Rebic (53') Argentina 0-1 Croatia
The FC crew lay into Jorge Sampaoli and inspect Lionel Messi's negative demeanour after Argentina's embarrassing defeat to Croatia.
ESPN's Sam Borden shares his thoughts on Croatia's 3-0 win which leaves Argentina on the brink of a World Cup exit.
Argentina's chances of making the round of 16 took a blow after a huge loss to Croatia, while Kylian Mbappe became France's youngest-ever World Cup goal scorer.

Luka Modric said Croatia "cut off" Lionel Messi from the ball but insisted his side's 3-0 win over Argentina was not as straightforward as it appeared.

Croatia limited Messi to only one shot after the Argentina talisman took 11 in their first game, a 1-1 draw with Iceland, and Modric said it all went according to plan.

"This result and Argentina's poor display was due to our good game, our compact block all over the pitch, particularly when we didn't have the ball," Modric said in his postgame...

Lionel Messi 'light years' ahead of Diego Maradona - Sergio Ramos

After two very different opening World Cup matches, the FC guys talk about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's differing roles for their national teams.
Spain managed to walk away with three points against Iran, but the FC crew explain how Iran managed to disrupt La Roja.
Cristiano Ronaldo broke another record versus Morocco, Luis Suarez led Uruguay past Saudi Arabia and much more headline Matchday 7.
Spain's Diego Costa admits he hasn't been at his best recently but is trying very hard to prove he is the best striker in the squad.

Sergio Ramos hit back at Diego Maradona's comments that he was "not a crack" player by saying that Lionel Messi is the best-ever Argentina player.

Maradona told Argentine TV station Telesur that although Real Madrid and Spain defender Ramos got more attention than Diego Godin, the Uruguay international was the better player.

But speaking to reporters after Spain's 1-0 win over Iran on Wednesday, Ramos responded to the 1986 World Cup winner.

"I respect him and Maradona was a great player, a...

Lionel Messi battling to lift Argentina and match Cristiano Ronaldo's heroics

ESPN FC's Stewart Robson and Alexis Nunes look ahead to Denmark-Australia, France-Peru, Argentina-Croatia and predict who'll come out on top.
ESPN's Alison Bender catches up with a Spanish fan who embarked on a 74-day journey, cycling from Valencia to Moscow without a match ticket.
The FC crew take a comprehensive look at how Iceland stifled Argentina and revisit La Albiceleste's continued dependence on Lionel Messi.

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia -- They say it exists only in our minds, and that's fine. They should say that. They should also say that it isn't anything more than a made-up teeter-totter wobbling back and forth in the collective brains of anyone who loves soccer.

Lionel Messi? Cristiano Ronaldo? Ronaldo? Messi?

To both players, the comparison is either contrived or silly (or both). But to us, it is the meat of what makes sports fascinating, the bedrock of conversation in bars or at concession stands...

 By Reuters

Argentina's Jorge Sampaoli pleads with fans to lay off Lionel Messi

The FC crew take a comprehensive look at how Iceland stifled Argentina and revisit La Albiceleste's continued dependence on Lionel Messi.

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia -- Argentina's coach urged fans on Wednesday to stop blaming Lionel Messi when games do not go to script and instead appreciate all their captain has done for the national side over the years.

Messi was furious with himself for missing a penalty in the South Americans' opener against Iceland, which ended 1-1 in an inauspicious start for what may be his last chance to emulate Diego Maradona's feat of winning a World Cup for Argentina.

"Messi can't be the only guilty one. When...