Argentina

Pumas confident COVID-19 won't keep them out of Rugby Championship

More than a dozen players and staff, including Ledesma, tested positive for coronavirus over the last few weeks as the Pumas assembled to prepare for the tournament starting in November.

Ledesma, however, said almost all had been asymptomatic and the testing regime in place meant he was sure they would travel to Australia next month.

"We're testing every 72 hours," Ledesma told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We'll be tested 72 hours before leaving, and once we get into Australia we'll be tested again.

Tagliafico Messi leader, protector

Messi, 32, has faced criticism for his performances for the national team as his wait for a first senior trophy at international level goes on.

But Ajax defender Tagliafico, a 25-time Argentina international, said the Barcelona star was key for his nation.

"Messi was released from the pressure to get results [at the 2019 Copa America, where Argentina finished third]," he told Ole.

"He more than anyone gets angry when he loses, but Messi became more aware that he has to enjoy the national team.

Messi will make Argentina return next month

Messi was handed a three-month ban from international football in August for accusing South America's governing body CONMEBOL of "corruption" during the Copa America.

After being controversially sent off in Argentina's third-place play-off win over Chile in July, Messi did not appear to collect his medal and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner later explained that he did not want to "be part of this corruption, this lack of respect towards the whole Copa".

Wallabies secure important win as All Black challenges loom

The Wallabies' scrum dominated the Pumas' and player of the match Will Genia, Kurtley Beale and comeback king Christian Leali'ifano put on an assured kicking display not seen for a long time from an Australian Test team.

Most pleasing was Australia's defence, keeping the Pumas try-less until the 74th minute with disciplined, patient defence in front of an appreciative 31,559 crowd at the iconic Brisbane ground.

"Really pleasing, we love coming up here ... really pleased with our play and how we bounced back from a short week's turnaround," captain Michael Hooper said.

Argentina make All Blacks sweat

After South Africa's earlier resounding victory over Australia, this was a match of a different nature and the All Blacks were clinging on at the end for their success on Saturday.

First-half tries from Ngani Laumape and Brodie Retallick looked to have put the visitors in control, but New Zealand went scoreless in the second 40 minutes.

Emiliano Boffelli pulled a try back and, come the closing stages, Argentina were camped close to the New Zealand line.

A lack of Crusaders gives others a chance to shine for All Blacks

The Crusaders beat Argentine side Jaguares to claim a 10th Super Rugby title earlier this month and the national players in their squad were allowed to miss the long trip to Buenos Aires because they already face a punishing season that includes the World Cup in September.

"Those guys had a busy schedule and I think the rest will be good for them but we have got absolute confidence that the guys who are here can step up and do a job," Coles said ahead of Saturday's game.

Argentina and Uruguay scramble to restore power after massive outage

Argentine President Mauricio Macri has promised a full investigation.

Argentine media said the power cut occurred shortly after 07:00 (11:00 BST), causing trains to be halted and failures with traffic signalling.

The blackout was prompted by a failure in an electrical grid that serves both Argentina and Uruguay.

The outage occurred as people in Argentina were preparing to go to the polls for local elections, delaying voting in several regional provinces.

Parts of Paraguay were also affected, a state energy company said.

     

Preview: France v Argentina

Didier Deschamps' men have struggled to hit top gear in the World Cup so far, although they still managed to top Group C with seven points from three games. However, a turgid goalless draw with Denmark on Tuesday - a stalemate that ensured France finished first and Denmark qualified - attracted plenty of negative headlines.

Next up is a blockbuster clash with Argentina - and Umtiti's Barcelona club-mate Lionel Messi - in the last 16 on Saturday and the former Lyon man says only the result counts in Kazan.

Nigeria 1 Argentina 2

The Super Eagles were heading through to the last 16 at Argentina's expense with four minutes to go of the final Group D game, but Rojo's sensational low volley saved Jorge Sampaoli's men and set up a showdown with France in the next round. 

Messi gave Argentina the lead in St Petersburg on Tuesday, the Barcelona superstar scoring a stunner to bring up the 100th goal of Russia 2018.

But when Javier Mascherano dragged down Leon Balogun in the box shortly after the restart, Victor Moses stepped up to roll Nigeria level and within touching distance of progressing.

World Cup: Messi scores 100th goal

With Argentina needing to beat Nigeria on Tuesday in St Petersburg to have a chance of qualifying for the last 16 at Russia 2018, the forward gave his side a 14th-minute lead.

Ever Banega's lofted throughball was ideally placed for Messi to impressively control and hammer home a right-footed drive to put Jorge Sampaoli's men in front.

Messi had failed to score in Argentina's two previous Group D games, missing a penalty in a 1-1 draw against Iceland and proving toothless as his side were thumped 3-0 by Croatia.