'Messi is Argentina' - Alves wary of superstar's 'brutal' threat but insists Brazil cannot look beyond Croatia tie yet

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Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates victory
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Brazil legend Dani Alves says Lionel Messi is in top form at the World Cup but has urged his side to focus on their quarter-final tie with Croatia.
  • Alves wary of Messi
  • Says team must focus on Croatia
  • Win could set up Argentina tie

WHAT HAPPENED? Brazil put in a stunning display to cruise past South Korea in the last 16 of the World Cup on Monday and remain on course to take on Argentina in the last four. Dani Alves knows just how difficult it will be up against former Barcelona team-mate Messi but has warned his team they must focus on their quarter-final with Croatia before they can even think about playing Argentina.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Everything happens through Messi. Everything happens through his feet. I think he is in a brutal moment. He is one of the players to take into account without a doubt in this competition," he told reporters. "We cannot think about the semi-finals, because we are in the quarter-finals, out of respect for Croatia we have to be focused on this match. Croatia has a lot of quality players and they deserve our 110% attention."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Brazil remain favourites to lift the World Cup and will be expected to see off Croatia, who needed penalties to knock out Japan in the last 16. Tite's side could then face Argentina for a place in the final and will be out for revenge after losing the 2021 Copa America final to the Albiceleste at the Maracana stadium.

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Neymar Dani Alves

Croatia World Cup 2022

DID YOU KNOW? Brazil scored four goals in a knockout round game at the World Cup for the first time since 1998 (4-1 vs Chile), scoring more goals in the opening 36 minutes of this match (4) than they did in their three group stage games combined (3).

WHAT NEXT FOR BRAZIL? Both Argentina and Brazil return to action on Friday at the World Cup. Tite's side face Croatia, while Argentina are up against the Netherlands.