Sunday, 22 July, 2018

France vow to end Lionel Messi's World Cup dreams

Argentina Nigeria World Cup 2018 World Cup 2018: Umtiti reveals difference between Messi at Barcelona, Argentina
Domingo Copeland | 30 June, 2018, 12:14

The Barcelona legend has only managed one goal so far in Russian Federation, which came in the decisive 2-1 Group D win over Nigeria in St. Petersburg and set up the French encounter. Argentina appears to have righted its ship and the experience its squad contains will carry it past the young, talented France squad. After their poor draw against World Cup debutants Iceland, Lionel Messi and Co were thrashed 3-0 by Croatia. You only need to look at his stats: 65 goals in 127 games - that says it all.

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"I'm sure France has a plan to neutralise Leo and we have a plan to get the best out of him, let's see whose plan works best", he added. However, there is not only Messi.

Now, the Soccerbot has digested the film, crunched the numbers and broken down every single player on France and Argentina. "That does not stop us from being competitive, though".

Anti-Messi plan? A plan is a big word.

Di Maria is yet to score in Russian Federation but does have 19 global goals.

"He is different with Argentina than with Barcelona", said the 24-year-old Umtiti.

Despite Messi's problems in the tournament, under-fire Sampaoli suggested his teammates had to give "the best player on earth" as much help as possible. "It will not hurt to have come up against Messi before, but that is not what will make the difference".

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With no clear sense of direction being set by Deschamps' selections, it may be up to the players to find their own way to deal with Messi.

Deschamps said Hernandez was fit and would remain at left-back with Benjamin Mendy unable to play due to a muscle issue.

Umtiti, who is expected to start dicey encounter after missing out of Les Bleus last group fixture against Denmark, revealed that stopping the Argentina's star is no easy task.

"But he's also able to see the world from above, like a bird. That's what makes him so good".

"Kylian did more defensively in the second match, scored and could have grabbed another - there is a collective mindset when we do not have the ball, and that concerns everybody".

All eyes will be on Messi and co which comprises of Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria to fire Argentina to the quarterfinals.

"Messi is unique, you can't compare anyone to him", said Lloris.

"The higher the level, the smaller the margin for error".

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