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Didier Deschamps hopes France’s La Liga trio can muzzle Lionel Messi

• ‘We’d like to neutralise him but know he can make difference’
• France need Antoine Griezmann to spark against Argentina

If a manager’s demeanour in front of the cameras is an indication of the state of his team then France risk staring into the void. The auditorium inside the Kazan Arena is cavernous but after 20 minutes in the presence of Didier Deschamps it seemed to have been sucked dry of air. Nobody present came away feeling remotely illuminated as to how his team may galvanise themselves to overcome Argentina on Saturday, although they did, at least, depart reassured Deschamps knew the identity of their bete noire.

“Messi is Messi,” pronounced Deschamps, an observation he repeated later on for good measure. “We’d like to mark and neutralise him but we know very well he can make the difference with very little. We have to take that into account.”

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