Didier Deschamps, France's manager, has revealed his strategy for dealing with Lionel Messi in the World Cup final.
Les Bleus take on La Albiceleste in the 2022 World Cup final on Sunday, looking for back-to-back titles. The two teams previously met in the World Cup's last 16 in 2018, with France emerging victorious with a thrilling 4-3 victory.
Messi did not score that day, but Deschamps drew on it when discussing France's plans to deal with him this time with Adil Rami for TF1: "Do you remember meeting him before?
"We will think about [the plan to nullify Messi]. Inevitably, there are precautions to be taken to limit his influence."
He added: "Four years ago, we expected him to be more on the right and he was playing centre-forward. There, he is a playmaker, he has more freedom, so it will be more difficult to mark him.
"Unless he is sick, we don’t know," he joked: "I don’t wish him [to be ill] of course.”
Messi has produced a string of tournament-defining performances in Qatar to help his country reach the final of what is likely to be his final World Cup. He enters the final joint-top of the scoring and assisting charts, and he put in another memorable performance in the semi-final as Argentina breezed past Croatia, scoring and assisting again.
Meanwhile, Deschamps is dealing with a virus outbreak that is ravaging his squad. As many as five players have fallen ill in the run-up to the final.
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