Lionel Messi: Argentina ace Angel Di Maria is bamboozled by Barcelona star

Lionel Messi: Argentina ace Angel Di Maria is bamboozled by Barcelona star

France's smooth advance to the knockout rounds with two wins and a draw has made them favourites to beat an Argentina side who were thrashed by Croatia and needed a late victor against Nigeria to book their place.

Two-time winners Argentina endured a helter-skelter group stage which saw talisman Messi misfire in the opening game draw against Iceland - in which he missed a penalty - before the Barcelona man was largely anonymous in the 3-0 thrashing by Croatia.

The Round of 16 matches will kick-off at 10 a.m. eastern time when Argentina is scheduled to take on France.

But with Portuguese rival Cristiano Ronaldo racing ahead in the scoring charts on four goals so far, and England's Harry Kane on five goals in just two matches, Messi risks finishing this World Cup with a whimper.

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.

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Lloris refused to be drawn on comparisons between the talismanic Messi and France's prodigious winger Kylian Mbappe. He said: 'There is so much expectation around Messi, which I think is normal, but still I think the Argentina team has a lot to show.

When and what time is the round of 16 match between Argentina and France? On both occasions, they reached the final, losing it in 1930 and winning in 1978. Les Bleus have conceded just one goal in the tournament in Russian Federation and that came on a penalty kick. He is the last Argentinean player to score against France, back in February 2009 in a friendly (2-0). He's yet to register a shot on target at this year's World Cup, having spent 200 minutes on the pitch.

"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".

"I see him everyday". France have failed to click as their star-studded attack still struggles to gel as they have only scored three goals in three games. France is a young team, which is not an excuse - it is the reality. Marcos Rojo will represent Argentina, and Paul Pogba will do the same for France. "We have the best player on earth, but we have others who can make things hard for them too".

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