Messi, who lost the last World Cup final to Germany as captain of Argentina, missed a penalty in his side's 1-1 draw with Iceland and is under pressure to propel his side to victory over Group D leaders Croatia on Thursday. Argentina has underachieved for years during which the Albiceleste has become entirely too over-reliant on the mercurial playmaker.
The defeat leaves the Argentinians facing an ignominious repeat of their 2002 campaign when they also went out at the group stage after being tipped as possible World Cup winners.
Higuain missed sitters in the 2014 World Cup final and a year later in the Copa America final against Chile.
Messi was unquestionably Argentina's best player against Iceland, despite failing from the penalty spot once again, but his shadow appears to hang over the rest of the team, inhibiting them and stifling their natural instincts.
At the time of writing, Messi and Argentina's World Cup hopes hang in the balance as they face a talented Croatia team in the second round of group play.
Iceland must to lose against Croatia on June 26th Argentina must beat Nigeria on June 26th by a wide margin Argentina would have to match Iceland's goal difference in the group and eclipse Iceland's goal total to win the tiebreaker.
"When you score with the Argentina jersey, we all take credit for it", Sampaoli said.
Despite the array of attacking talent at their disposal, it is Messi who is the one relied on to push Argentina forward. The responsibility for the defeat will be put on Messi. Without him, they wouldn't have got anywhere near the World Cup.
" It is not easy to play against them, but our players have to enjoy the match".
A curiously lifeless and uninspired Argentine display was capped off by Caballero's mistake when he somehow managed to chip the ball just a few yards to Croatia's Rebic, following a Gabriel Mercado backpass.
France, who edged past Australia 2-1 courtesy of an Antoine Griezmann penalty and an own goal in their Group C opener, vowed to ramp up the intensity against Peru in Yekaterinburg.
Away from the football, Burger King has apologised for an online ad offering burgers to Russian women who get impregnated by football players during the World Cup.