Genius Messi a shining light for Argentina, says Sampaoli

Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi

All eyes will be on Messi and co which comprises of Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria to fire Argentina to the quarterfinals.

Neither Argentina or France have looked impressive as of yet but surely they will turn it on for the knockouts?

Group stage: The three games we played in the group stage left us with mixed feelings. But as we saw in the Euros, some teams who looked good during the group stage were later knocked out.

France have never beaten Argentina at a World Cup or in any competitive game.

Messi opened the scoring in a 2-1 defeat of Nigeria that sent Argentina through to the knockout rounds, Sampaoli's side bouncing back from a 3-0 thumping dealt out by Croatia.

For Argentina, the man to watch is once again Lionel Messi. Oddsmakers have pegged Group C victor France as the slight betting favorite over Group D runner-up Argentina.

The model also knows Argentina didn't qualify for the Round of 16 until the final minutes of its third game.

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Sampaoli was unstinting in his praise of Messi, describing him as "the best player in the world" and a "genius", but preferred to focus more on the display he expected from his whole team on Saturday. "Kylian has great quality and great potential - I think that he will get a bit more space against Argentina than he did in the group stage".

FIFA World Cup 2018 France v/s Argentina match will take place on Saturday, June 30. On both occasions, they reached the final, losing it in 1930 and winning in 1978.

"It is not just about Messi, even if his number of goals and assists show that he is very influential", the French tactician said. He is the last Argentinean player to score against France, back in February 2009 in a friendly (2-0).

Before you lock in your 2018 World Cup picks, you need to see what European football expert David Sumpter has to say.

"We will try to stop him but he's not the only one in this Argentina team, they have other strikers", a UK Daily Mail report, quoted Umtiti as saying. This move would also allow France to accommodate another player instead of Giroud.

"We need to control the match, that's our starting-point, we need to control the game throughout".

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