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Sampaoli planning to use Messi as a false nine against France

30 June, 2018, 12:13 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Francia pendiente de Messi Dinamarca se las verá con Croacia en octavos

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. Out of the 11 times they have locked horns, two matches ended in a draw and the rest had a result.

Antoine Griezmann seemed to be toying with the idea of becoming one of those team mates next season.

Asked about comparisons between Mbappe and Messi, France captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said it is impossible to compare the Argentina and Barcelona star to anybody else in the game. "But their team is highly experienced, we talk about Messi, but [Javier] Mascherano has lots of caps, so is used to the pressure".

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We don't trust Argentina to shut out France, nor do we expect Les Bleus to deny the South Americans the goals they covet dearly. This move would also allow France to accommodate another player instead of Giroud. Argentina have a fair share of talent as well, but things are simple: they will need to produce their best display in the tournament to have any chance at avoiding a Round of 16 exit. The most important one is the presence of Cristian Pavon in place of Gonzalo Higuain, as part of a tactical change that will feature Lionel Messi on a "False 9" role. The former Benfica and Valencia midfielder is dealing with physical problems, and will be a game-time decision. Marcos Rojo will represent Argentina, and Paul Pogba will do the same for France.

But, he added: "Argentina will play an aggressive style of football, we're going to attack from kick-off".

This will be their 12th meeting across all competitions. Argentina had a roller-coaster ride in the group stages as unusual tactics, ineffectual play, an unpopular manager and frightful chemistry saw them only pick up one point from their first two games.

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This World Cup notwithstanding, France has lost just once in its last 15 matches. On both occasions, they reached the final, losing it in 1930 and winning in 1978.

Before you lock in your 2018 World Cup picks, you need to see what European football expert David Sumpter has to say. "We share the dream of coming to Russian Federation to achieve something important for Argentina".

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