Friday, 20 September, 2019

Umtiti reveals difference between Messi at Barcelona, Argentina

Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi France's Antoine Griezmann is set to line up against Argentina's Lionel Messi live on BBC One
Shannon Reynolds | 29 June, 2018, 23:10

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

If a manager's demeanour in front of the cameras is an indication of the state of his team then France risk staring into the void.

Argentina are set to make a tactical tweak for the last 16 clash with France in Kazan tomorrow, and it involves Lionel Messi.

Deschamps rejected the idea of an "anti-Messi plan" but does want his players to keep him as quiet as possible.

"Hopefully, we will mark and neutralise him, but you know very well he can make the difference with very little", said Deschamps, rolling his eyes when asked for a fourth time by the collected media how he might stop Messi. "We have to take a number of precautions". I played the last match and tried to help as much as I could.

"I'm not sure it's an advantage, but it's not a disadvantage", added Deschamps. "If you've played against him already, you may be aware of some situations that repeat themselves".

France will likely go with Olivier Giroud in attack to have a target man, but don't be surprised if they instead opt for more speed in the final third.

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That was also the case in the final group game 0-0 draw against Denmark - the first (and so far only) goalless game at Russian Federation 2018 - which was a sleep-inducing affair that did little to inspire French fans.

"I'm not looking for excuses", he said.

"It was a simple exchange I had with one of my players, that is all".

"We've studied the three Argentina group matches which gives us indications and hints, but a player like Messi could step up his own level and decide the fate of the match", said Lloris. "The beginning was a bit hard", Deschamps admitted of a player France desperately need to pick up some form.

Standing in their way are Antoine Griezmann and France. "Kylian was freer in the first game, but that did not make him more unsafe".

It was, in the manner of his other contributions to the session, neither a ringing endorsement nor a kick up the backside.

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