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Umtiti reveals difference between Messi at Barcelona, Argentina

30 June 2018

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli says he was informing rather than consulting Lionel Messi in an exchange during the team's last World Cup match that some media interpreted as him ceding authority to the celebrated forward.

"They have had hard times and still have been able to qualify".

The fixture is the first between two previous world champions at Russian Federation 2018. Argentina will be their toughest test to date, and it will provide good measure of where France really are.

"We are preparing to play in a last-16 game against Argentina, so we have to be at our top level", Lloris said.

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.

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"As we said, this is a new tournament that begins, and I think we have to depend on our collective strength, on a defensive solidity and we know our attacking potential", Lloris added.

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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.

Argentina lead 6-3 against France in global tournaments including the World Cup and friendlies.

Argentina scraped into the knockout stages thanks to a dramatic late win in their final Group D game against Nigeria.

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"It is not just about Messi, even if his number of goals and assists show that he is very influential", the French tactician said. The last time these two sides met was in 2009 in an worldwide friendly which Messi and co had won 2-0.

"Messi is Messi, look at his stats, 65 goals in 127 matches (for Argentina), we would like to mark and neutralize him", France coach Deschamps told reporters Friday, ahead of the clash in Kazan.

France will look to boss the midfield in a bid to limit supply to the lethal 31-year-old, who has struggled to impose himself in the tournament.

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

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.

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Umtiti reveals difference between Messi at Barcelona, Argentina