Argentina | France | Lionel Messi | Jorge Sampaoli | World Cup | 2018 | Football | Onmanorama

Argentina | France | Lionel Messi | Jorge Sampaoli | World Cup | 2018 | Football | Onmanorama

Argentina | France | Lionel Messi | Jorge Sampaoli | World Cup | 2018 | Football | Onmanorama

The South Americans looked in real danger of crashing out at the group stage before a dramatic victory over Nigeria saw them through to the last 16 as runners-up behind Croatia.

The two-time World Champions had their backs against the wall in the group finale against Nigeria, but they pulled through and secured a 2-1 win thanks to a late goal from Manchester United centre-back, Marcos Rojo.

"We've studied their group games, which gives us an indication, but we know players like Messi can step up his own level and decide the fate of the match, as he does with Argentina and Barcelona".

France's Samuel Umtiti-a teammate of Messi's at Barcelona-said things are tougher on the star when he's playing for Argentina.

But Les Bleus insist they will be ready just on time for Saturday's game after a tailor-made physical preparation, with talismanic striker Antoine Griezmann expected to finally shine.In 2006, France huffed and puffed into the knockout rounds, where they beat Spain, Brazil and Portugal en route to the final. We rely on our abilities and we are strong in a psychological sense. "But their team is highly experienced, we talk about Messi, but [Javier] Mascherano has lots of caps, so is used to the pressure".

"We need to control the match, that's our starting-point, we need to control the game throughout".

As usual, much of the attention will be placed on Argentine Lionel Messi, perhaps the greatest soccer player ever. "He's a shining light for us all, and we have to do our very best to all try to be at his level".

"Leo is completely committed to the team, first and foremost you see this on the pitch", the Argentina coach said.

"It's straightforward, hopefully we would like to neutralise him, but we know very well he can make the difference with very little".

"It's often hard to be at such a level of Leo, he's a real shining light for us all, we have to play bearing in mind his capacity, playing as close to his level as we can". Let's see who has the best plan.

"I really feel that he doesn't live football like others do - in the way he sees it, in the choices he makes and in the goals he scores". Hugo Lloris, taking the floor before Deschamps, had been a fittingly stiff warm-up act but he did point to the potential impact of another France forward, Kylian Mbappé, whose early-career exploits have drawn inevitable comparisons with Messi.

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