Lionel Messi: Argentina ace Angel Di Maria is bamboozled by Barcelona star

Argentina Nigeria World Cup 2018

"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".

Neither Argentina or France have looked impressive as of yet but surely they will turn it on for the knockouts?

"He's the best player on earth but we also have other players that can cause France some problems". "He's a shining light for us all, and we have to do our very best to all try to be at his level".

"They've won the World Cup in the past so it will be a big, hard match and we'll have to step up our level".

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Messi opened the scoring in a 2-1 defeat of Nigeria that sent Argentina through to the knockout rounds, Sampaoli's side bouncing back from a 3-0 thumping dealt out by Croatia.

Another shake-up looms for the Argentina match, with Deschamps unlikely to have teenage juggernaut Kylian Mbappe starting on the bench again or to rest Paul Pogba. Argentina had a roller-coaster ride in the group stages as odd tactics, ineffectual play, an unpopular manager and awful chemistry saw them only pick up one point from their first two games. He said: 'There is so much expectation around Messi, which I think is normal, but still I think the Argentina team has a lot to show.

France vs Argentina is the most anticipated match of the World Cup Round of 16. On both cases, Argentina reached the Finals.

The last South American team to beat France at the World Cup were Argentina in 1978. He is the last Argentinean player to score against France, back in February 2009 in a friendly (2-0).

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"But it's not how you characterised it, we had several options in attack and I was just communicating to him that we'd be using one of the strategies that we'd rehearsed". I've seen something from France that tells me they could click at some point, however, I look at Argentina and they are an old team.

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

This game sounds like an absolute cracker but, if I'm being honest, it's not really.

France's team, whose average age is 25, will be looking to awake from their recent slumber and Sampaoli, whose side's average age is 30, underlined the danger of allowing the France to dictate play.

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