Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Jorge Sampaoli: I was instructing Lionel Messi vs. Nigeria, not consulting him

Jorge Sampaoli: I was instructing Lionel Messi vs. Nigeria, not consulting him

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.

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. "He knows all the passion I put into everything I do", Sampaoli said.

"He is different with Argentina than with Barcelona".

Lloris, who earned his 100th cap against Peru before being rested for the match against Denmark, suggested France will take collective responsibility for keeping the Barcelona star in check, with a place in the quarter-finals on the line. Currently, they are finding it hard to find their rhythm in the game.

Group stage: The three games we played in the group stage left us with mixed feelings. "He's got outstanding qualities", he said, according to the Daily Express.

"It is not just about Messi, even if his number of goals and assists show that he is very influential", the French tactician said.

France's smooth advance to the knockout rounds with two wins and a draw has made them favourites to beat an Argentina side who were thrashed by Croatia and needed a late victor against Nigeria to book their place.

Argentina lead 6-3 against France in global tournaments including the World Cup and friendlies. The last time these two sides met was in 2009 in an global friendly which Messi and co had won 2-0. He's yet to register a shot on target at this year's World Cup, having spent 200 minutes on the pitch.

"It was the same at the Euros, I only started to feel good from the last 16". On the performances so far these are the two sides I can't see winning it. Even though the numbers look quite solid (two wins in three matches and only goal conceded), the stats do not tell the whole story.

Although the goalkeeper was reluctant to compare France's promising young striker Kylian Mbappe with the Argentine number 10, he believes the Paris Saint-Germain man can be decisive at the other end. Nobody present came away feeling remotely illuminated as to how his team may galvanise themselves to overcome Argentina on Saturday, although they did, at least, depart reassured Deschamps knew the identity of their bete noire.

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

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