Argentina ready to test France World Cup credentials

World Cup 2018: Umtiti reveals difference between Messi at Barcelona, Argentina

France vow to end Lionel Messi's World Cup dreams

"And let's face it, France have yet to show anything to make us feel optimistic, to give us hope", said Marcel Desailly, a World Cup victor with France in 1998.

France, which plays Argentina for a spot in the quarterfinals on Saturday in Kazan, has been misfiring since the start of the tournament, scoring just three goals in its group matches.

The Real Madrid star, who has four goals in Russian Federation and looks certain to be crowned world player of the year for a sixth time, will come up against a tight Uruguay defence that did not concede a single goal in the group phase. "He is such a pure Barcelona product but with Argentina right now, Messi's in a mess". "He's got outstanding qualities".

However, France are now unbeaten in their last 8 games vs CONMEBOL opponents and will be looking to continue that run.

"The only thing I'm focusing on is the match tomorrow", Deschamps said ahead of his 80th game in charge. "Knowing him from the Spanish league will not make the difference, but having played against him, similar situations could repeat themselves".

He said: "The Argentinians are a very experienced side". "He does not have the same players with him, and their way of playing is different but he has saved them on several occasions".

Hugo Lloris is expected to start in goal as usual with Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane in the heart of the defence.

The only injury concern for France in Manchester City left-back, Benjamin Mendy.

Five-time world player of the year Messi underlined his importance to Argentina with a sublimely taken opening goal against Nigeria but that came after his penalty miss against Iceland in a lacklustre 1-1 draw that set the tone for a disappointing campaign so far. We could also see a first World Cup start for first choice left back Benjamin Mendy, who returned from injury with a substitute appearance against Denmark. Ronaldo was arguably the world's best striker at the time, with his speed and fast crossovers making him almost unstoppable.

"Ronaldo and Messi are two enormous players, with a totally different style, but their influence on their teams is quite similar", Deschamps said.

"We need collective answers, to give it our all individually and collectively".

"He's talented, he's unpredictable and can produce little sparks that can prove decisive". They've been OK, and given the fact that virtually every other big team has been on the same boat so far - in terms of struggling to hit their expected early heights - they look in good shape.

Despite its vast attacking potential, France has failed do far in Russian Federation to reproduce the intensity that carried Les Bleus to the European championship final two years ago.

As well as putting the brakes on Messi, key to France's last-eight bid will be Atletico Madrid striker Griezmann.

"A whole new competition begins now, direct elimination", said manager Didier Deschamps.

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