France Star Feels Sorry For Lionel Messi

Francia pendiente de Messi Dinamarca se las verá con Croacia en octavos

Didier Deschamps says France are fully aware of Argentina star Lionel Messi's quality and want to "neutralize" him when the teams meet on Saturday in the World Cup last 16. Currently, they are finding it hard to find their rhythm in the game. France enters this marquee matchup at +135 on the money line, meaning you'd need to bet $100 on a French victory to win $135.

Argentina have many options and we have a lot of great players.

The Round of 16 matches will kick-off at 10 a.m. eastern time when Argentina is scheduled to take on France.

As France look to underperforming striker Antoine Griezmann to lift his game, Sampaoli underlined a bigger threat in 19-year-old Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Kylian Mbappe, who struck France's match victor in a 1-0 win over Peru, and 21-year-old Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele.

Lloris refused to be drawn on comparisons between the talismanic Messi and France's prodigious winger Kylian Mbappe.

Six Argentina players (Ever Banega, Gabriel Mercado, Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi, Marcos Acuna and Nicolas Otamendi) and three France players (Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Corentin Tolisso) are one booking away from a one-match ban. On both occasions, they reached the final, losing it in 1930 and winning in 1978. Since then, France are unbeaten in eight World Cup fixtures against CONMEBOL opposition (W4 D4).

However, early reports suggest as though none of the two 'No.9's will be selected from the off against France, with Messi set to return to the false nine role he made his own during his illustrious spell playing under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, where he transformed into a complete and utter phenomenon.

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He will also hope their defence can continue to hold firm after conceding only one goal in the group phase.

Messi offered Argentina fans a tantalising moment of brilliance with his goal as Jorge Sampaoli's men beat Nigeria 2-1 to avoid a group-stage exit. He is the last Argentinean player to score against France, back in February 2009 in a friendly (2-0).

But the 58-year-old coach, speaking on the eve of Saturday's clash with France at the Kazan Arena, said the incident had been misinterpreted.

"What is most worrisome about France beyond their youth is the skill of some of their players", he said.

"Honestly, I have not decided yet on the starting lineup".

"They will try to make us make mistakes, and try to hurt us on the wings".

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