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

30 June 2018

Though Lionel Messi has stated that the World Cup starts now for Argentina but they will have to face one of the tournament favourites France in the Round of 16 as they finished second in their group behind Croatia. They've had hard times and still qualified.

Argentina have defeated France in their two World Cup meetings (1930, 1-0; 1978, 2-1).

Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe scored France's victor in their 1-0 victory over Peru and Lloris said he expected the 19-year-old to shine against Argentina.

'There has been a lot of excitement (in the French camp), because Argentina are a major contender, with great players and many supporters in the stadium.

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Much has been made of Messi's influence on the Argentina side, but France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris rejected suggestions they were a one-man outfit.

"If you've played against him already you might be aware of some situations which may repeat themselves".

"Kylian has huge quality and potential, he's fast, explosive and needs space".

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.

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Remarkably, Gonzalo Higuain has not scored in his last eight matches for Argentina.Another aspect of the game will be France's capacity to prevent Messi from being fed by the opposing midfield, notably Ever Banega.

Argentina have gone past the first round for the 12th time in their last 13 World Cup appearances, the only exception coming in 2002.

Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Nigeria and Argentina at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 26, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He is the last Argentinean player to score against France, back in February 2009 in a friendly (2-0). 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. In comparison, France is a young team, that's not an excuse, just the reality although that is not going to stop us from being competitive.

"We want to control the game throughout, if we don't I am sure it will become a very physical game, which will not suit us at all". They look like a exhausted team and that's why I'm going for France.

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"I dream of an Argentina that plays with passion but also dominates with the football", he said.

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