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

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Coach Ricardo Gareca said the Incas, who played some attractive soccer in going down 1-0 to Denmark in their first game, would not change their approach against the highly-fancied French on Thursday. "He more than anyone would give everything for this to be his World Cup".

Reacting on the sad development, Messi's mum said it is painful when her son's loyalty to his country is under scrutiny.

Reacting further from her native home in Rosario, where Messi tied the knot with his childhood lover, Antonela Rocuzzo previous year, she stressed: "From here all his family are supporting him".

"When he has two or three opponents trying to block him, somewhere on the pitch a teammate is free, as happened against Iceland", he said. "He more than anyone would give everything for this to be his World Cup".

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"They are different. Their contexts are different", he said, urging fans to look at the overall record of Messi, who is Argentina's all-time stop scorer.

A staggering 99.6% of TV viewers in Iceland tuned in to see their nation's first World Cup finals game on Saturday, a 1-1 draw against an Argentina side led by Lionel Messi.

'I see him much more relaxed, calmer and with more confidence.

"I wished him a lot of luck".

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Maradona and Barcelona star Messi worked together without success as manager and player at the 2010 World Cup. "I told him to do what he knows best, to enjoy himself and I've told him all his family are supporting him". "I told him to do what he knows, to play just as if he was playing when he started out with Grandoli".

Maradona loves the attention of the media and will undoubtedly respond to Ramos' comments in the coming days, with Argentina set to face Croatia this evening it could be sooner rather than later.

"When he scores, all Argentines celebrate, so when he misses, we can't jump on him alone ... that's too easy a way to think", smarted Sampaoli on the eve of their next Group D game, against Croatia.

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