The group stage of the 2018 World Cup has come to an end, and the bracket has been finalized for the round of 16. The bracket shows the potential to create what could be one of the most anticipated games of the tournament: Messi vs. Ronaldo.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have long been debated over who should be considered the greatest of all time. The World Cup quarter finals could offer the chance for the world to find out.
Saturday, June 30th, Argentina will face-off against France while Portugal will take on Uruguay.
Messi will have to carry a struggling Argentina team that barely made it out of group play. They qualified for the round of 16 by pulling out a necessary 2-1 win over Nigeria. Now, they will have to defeat a very strong French team in order to make it to the quarter finals.
Ronaldo has been phenomenal for Portugal scoring 4 of their 5 goals including a hat-trick that solidified a draw with Spain. Portugal defeated Morocco and tied Iran, but it was enough for them to finish second in their group and move on to the round of 16. Unfortunately, they will have to defeat Uruguay, one of the three teams that finished with a perfect 9 points in group play, to advance to the quarter finals.
Since Ronaldo joined Real Madrid he and Messi have played one another countless times on a club level, but only twice on an international level. Each one of them have a win, but neither match was played on the type of stage the World Cup offers. Neither have won a World Cup- if either did this year, it would definitely give them the upper hand.
Messi and Ronaldo have both mentioned the possibility of retirement after this World Cup, so it could be the last time the two have the opportunity to meet on this platform. Even if both return for the World Cup in Qatar, there is no guarantee that either will still be performing at as high of a level as they both are now.
If this all pans out and both Portugal and Argentina make it to face one another in the quarter finals, it will be a very interesting matchup. Portugal will obviously be continuing to rely on Ronaldo while Argentina will be coming off of two straight wins. Momentum could be on Argentina’s side, but Portugal has definitely shown to have the better squad. It would be a match for the ages.
Author: Madison Parham
Madison Parham received a B.S. in Sport and Recreation Management from the University of North Alabama in 2018. She has played soccer for fifteen years, including two years of collegiate ball at the JuCo and DII levels. She has become a regular guest of the Mississippi Sports Talk Today radio show with Craig Horton where she has interviewed legendary coaches and professional athletes from the South. She will continue at North Alabama as a graduate assistant while working toward a Master of Science in Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Sports Management. She will also direct sporting events for ESPN and Lion Vision.