- Les Blues to face Albiceleste at Qatar 2022
- Global crown up for grabs
- Deschamps' men must contain all-time great
WHAT HAPPENED? Les Bleus, who are defending champions, are set to face the Albiceleste in a showpiece event on Sunday that will see a global crown put on the line. France are fully aware that seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi poses a serious threat to their ambition, but Didier Deschamps’ squad are confident that they can keep an all-time great quiet and dash his dreams of claiming an elusive prize in what will be his last outing at FIFA’s flagship event.
WHAT THEY SAID: France full-back Hernandez has told RAI Sport: “Playing two World Cup finals in a row is an incredible moment. We will work hard to win this final. Now we have to think about the final. I'm tired, but it's nice to win a World Cup semi-final. Now let's recover for Sunday. Messi doesn't scare us, Argentina are an incredible team but we have a few days to work.”
Veteran frontman Olivier Giroud, who is now his country’s all-time leading goalscorer, has added to The Athletic: “Messi is an incredible player. But we’re not going to let him enjoy the best night that he can have. We want to win this game and the World Cup and we will try everything to stop him. There is not only Messi in that team. They have great players who work for the team also. That’s why they are so strong.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: France will not let Messi dominate their pre-match preparations, despite his obvious ability, with the Argentine’s former Barcelona team-mate Antoine Griezmann saying: “We’ve seen Argentina play, we know how they play, they are a difficult team to play against and they seem to be on top form. There isn’t only Messi, they have a strong side around him. It will be a tough game and they will have a lot of support in the crowd.”
Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni went on to say: “We will have to defend well and we will have to show all our qualities. Yes, there’s Lionel Messi, but there are also 10 other players next to him who also have a lot of quality, so we’ll have to be ready, well aware of the opportunity we have to make history.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? France edged out Morocco 2-0 to make their way into the final at Qatar 2022, while Argentina proved too strong for Croatia as Messi netted his fifth goal of the tournament in a 3-0 victory for the South American heavyweights.