Griezmann: Playing Messi in World Cup final ´a totally different proposition´

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Playing Lionel Messi in the World Cup final is a “totally different proposition”, according to France’s Antoine Griezmann after his team secured their place in Sunday’s showpiece match.

France ended Morocco’s fairytale run with a 2-0 semi-final victory as goals from Theo Hernandez and Randal Kolo Muani sent Les Bleus through to a second consecutive World Cup final.

Didier Deschamps’ side could become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to retain international football’s top prize, having lifted the trophy in Russia in 2018.

But standing in their way is Messi’s Argentina, who cruised past Croatia on Tuesday to clinch their spot in a sixth World Cup final, with only Germany having been in the tournament’s deciding match on more occasions.

Messi has broken record after record in Qatar, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta as Argentina’s top World Cup goalscorer while he is set to become the tournament’s highest all-time appearance holder if he plays on Sunday.

With the final against France likely representing the last opportunity for Messi to finally get his hands on the World Cup trophy, Griezmann acknowledged it will be a tough task to slow down La Albiceleste.

“Any team with Messi in is a totally different proposition,” Griezmann told reporters at his post-match news conference.

“All of the matches we have seen Argentina play, we know how they play – they are difficult.

“They seem to be on top form, there isn’t only Messi – they have a strong side around him.

“We know it is going to be a tough game and they are going to have the support of the crowd.

“We will get back to working tomorrow and see how we can hurt them, we will be well prepared.”

France and Argentina played out a seven-goal thriller at the 2018 World Cup, with Les Bleus’ 4-3 triumph sending them on to eventual glory.

Messi failed to get on the scoresheet in that encounter, but Deschamps is fully aware of the threat the Paris Saint-Germain forward will pose on Sunday at Lusail Stadium.

“Lionel Messi has been in scintillating form since the beginning of the tournament,” Deschamps said. “Four years ago, things were different of course.

“He actually played as a centre-forward against us then, which caught us by surprise. Now he is playing in a tandem just behind the centre-forward.

“He is picking up the ball, running with it and looking in great form. He is one of the best players in the world and he has shown that.

“We are going to try and counter Messi’s threat and try to stop him influencing the game. Of course, Argentina are going to do the same to my players and they are a different side to the one we faced four years ago.”



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