DIDIER DESCHAMPS admits some French people want Lionel Messi to lift the World Cup today.
Lionel Messi is up for finally winning the World Cup as Argentina face FranceReuters
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The France boss, aiming to become only the second manager to be world champion twice, said: “I know Argentina and maybe some French people would hope Lionel Messi can win the World Cup but we are going to do everything to achieve our objective.
“Most fans will probably support Argentina because they are Argentinian or will be rooting for that team.
“Argentinians are a very passionate people, they get behind their team and that is a positive thing, it is good to have an atmosphere like that in a World Cup final.
“But our opponents aren’t in the crowd, they are a team we face on the pitch and they are a good enough team to be worried about them.
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“Both teams have the same objective and only one will come out with a third star.”
France captain Hugo Lloris is also aware that most of the world wants Messi to cap his extraordinary international career by winning the one major trophy that has eluded him.
Keeper Lloris said: “As long as we have the support of our fans — and we know the French people are behind us — then nothing else really matters.
“We started the World Cup with the objective to go as far as possible.
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“Very few believed in us at the outset but we are now in the final and will pull out all the stops to win it.
“Of course we know what Lionel Messi means in the history of football but I believe the event is too massive just being focused on one player.
“It is a final between two big nations of football, between Argentina and France.
“When you face that type of player, you need a special focus on him but it is not only him, it is a strong team with a lot of talented players, with a young generation of players and you can feel they are all dedicated to Leo Messi.
“We will try to find the key to get the success in this game.”
Amid all the talk of Messi’s mission, the story of the other captain in the final has been a bit lost. Lloris would not feature in many people’s list of all-time great goalkeepers.
World Cup winners like England’s Gordon Banks, Italian legends Dino Zoff and Gianluigi Buffon, or even keepers who were never world champions, such as the Soviet Union’s Lev Yashin, are rated more highly.
But the fact is that if France win today, Lloris will become the first captain, goalkeeper or not, to lift the trophy twice.
Tottenham skipper Lloris said: “I was privileged enough to win the trophy with my team-mates in 2018 and I am very proud of that, but we are focused on creating our own history.
“It is going to be the toughest match of the tournament and we have to be ready for any scenario.
GettyHugo Lloris aims to become the first keeper to taste World Cup glory twice[/caption]
“We will have to show great solidarity, graft and in spite of everything, the virus, we will have to finish the job as well as we can.
“In the past we have already proved that French teams who have been successful have always based that success on a strong team spirit and so we try to draw from that. Thanks to the adrenalin and excitement we will feel we will all be ready to do anything we can to win this last battle.”
Lloris and Deschamps, unlike Messi, know their status as World Cup legends is already secure.
Deschamps is one of the few men to win it as player and manager and is today trying to match the only other boss to win it twice — Italy’s Vittorio Pozzo in 1934 and 1938.
But does the weight of support for Messi, and the additional issue of illness in the French camp, make Deschamps feel that he is all alone, him against the world?
The France boss smiled: “I often get that feeling but I am fine being alone, that doesn’t bother me.
“These uncertainties always arrive, we are here and have done everything we can to be well prepared for the game against Argentina.
“Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni has also had challenges. They lost their first game against Saudi Arabia.
“I don’t have any particular worries or stress.
“When you prepare for a game like this you have to remain composed.
“In the World Cup final, you have a match but also a whole context behind it and the objective is to come out with the title.”