La Albiceleste may have battled and struggled through the group stage, but France goalkeeper Steve Mandanda is wary of Lionel Messi’s threat.
Messi, who turns 31 on Sunday, got his first goal of Russia 2018 in Argentina’s definitive 2-1 triumph over Nigeria on Tuesday at the Saint Petersburg Stadium. The Barcelona forward is yet to hit top form at the 2018 Mundial but Mandanda believes what Messi is capable of ahead of their crucial knock out tie on Saturday’s in Kazan.
The Les Blues shot-stopper speaking in an interview reveals:
“We need to defend well, close to each other, even though Messi is able to do everything,” he told a news conference.
“We know that, we are warned. We have players in our team who played a few times with him or against him in LaLiga.
“We know what we would expect on Saturday but we have the weapons to defend well and to hurt them.”
Argentina struggled through the group stage, with a 1-1 draw with Russia 2018 debutants Iceland, and losing woefully to Modric’s led Croatia and needing Marcos Rojo’s late winner against Nigeria to progress.
Mandanda said he was yet to study Jorge Sampaoli’s side, but he is wary of theFive Time Ballon d’Or winner.
“I have not made a proper analysis of Argentina’s style yet. We played a game yesterday [a 0-0 draw against Denmark], since then I have not checked,” he said.
“But we all know they have a player who is capable of everything.
“They have quality. It could come from everywhere. They had a hard time qualifying themselves, but they did. It’s always a strong team to play against.”