Argentina, finalists in 2014, tumbled out of the tournament with a 4-3 loss to France in the round of 16, ending their hopes of becoming world champions for the first time since 1986.
As Lionel Messi’s fourth World Cup ended in bitter, frustrating and all-too-familiar defeat, it is, in turn, likely to be the end of his career on the world stage. One which will end without a major championship to his name.
Messi previously announced his retirement from international football in 2016, only to reverse his decision ahead of qualifying for this year’s World Cup.
But on Saturday, he was unable to inspire his team past France, who now place themselves as one of the favourites to win the whole competition following the victory.
As well as losing the World Cup final four years ago, Messi has tasted defeat in the final of the Copa America on three occasions.
Argentina were perhaps fortunate to even get this far in the World Cup. They barely escaped a humiliating elimination in the group stage.
Jorge Sampaoli’s future in charge of the Argentina team is now also in doubt. According to reports, there were rifts and disagreements in the camp throughout the World Cup.