WORLD CUP 2018 | FRANCE - ARGENTINA

Deschamps: "We don't have any specific plan to stop Messi"

Deschamps: "We don't have any specific plan to stop Messi"

JOHN SIBLEY

REUTERS

"Our idea is simply to limit his influence on the game", France's coach said of tomorrow's clash with Argentina, who he classified as "a highly experienced side".

France coach Didier Deschamps spoke about the team's unconvincing group stage and told reporters that he has not devised an anti-Messi strategy for tomorrow's Last 16 clash with Argentina.

France's slow start

Group stage: The three games we played in the group stage left us with mixed feelings. The game against Peru was our best performance although our attacking wasn't strong enough in the second half. But as we saw in the Euros, some teams who looked good during the group stage were later knocked out.

Messi: Messi is Messi. You only need to look at his stats: 65 goals in 127 games - that says it all. In absolute terms, it means that we will have to neutralize him because he can make a big difference by doing very little. But Argentina have a lot of experience - they're no only about Messi. Mascherano has 150 internationals under his belt and they have other players who have been at the World Cup before. 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.

You can't plan for Messi - Deschamps

Anti-Messi plan? A plan is a big word. Obviously, depending on the situation he finds himself in, we'll be trying to limit his influence.

France's defenders who play at Spanish clubs: By that do you mean that our three defenders who play in LaLiga (Varane, Umtiti and Hernández) and who know Messi could be a factor in our favour? Do you see it as an advantage? It won't be a disadvantage that they have already faced Messi before. But it won't make much difference. With the talent Messi has, sometimes there is not a great deal you can do because he is so unpredictable.

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