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[World Cup] Messi, Robben aim to put down World Cup underdogs

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Published : 2014-07-05 11:21
Updated : 2014-07-05 11:21

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Lionel Messi's Argentina is to take on Belgium in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday again aiming to prove that they are a not a one man team.

The match in Salvador starting at 2000 GMT and Netherlands' quarter final against Costa Rica in Brasilia at 1600 GMT could see the end of the World Cup's dark horses and underdogs.

Messi's side went out in the quarter finals at the 2006 and 2010 tournaments and the four time world player of the year is desperate to get the only big trophy missing from his resplendent cupboard.

Lionel Messi (Yonhap)
But Argentine coach Alejandro Sabella has faced repeated questions about his reliance on the Barcelona superstar who has scored four of the team's seven goals.

Marc Wilmosts, coach of the talented and gritty Belgian team, also insists that his players must beware of everyone around Messi as well.

Belgium's record World Cup goal scorer with five goals in three finals, Wilmots said that "people tend to focus on Messi, and rightly so.

But after watching Argentina's last 16 victory over Switzerland, he added: "The team is not just Lionel Messi. It's a whole. You have to reach a balance.

"At some points they left a few scoring opportunities for Switzerland, so things can change very quickly."

Wilmots "Red Devils" must succeed where their talented forebears of 1986 failed. In the semi-finals that year, Belgium could not cope with another genius, Diego Maradona, who scored both goals in a 2-0 win.

Individual moments of Messi brilliance have marked nearly all of Argentina's campaign at the World Cup so far. As well as scoring he made Angel di Maria's winner against the Swiss.

But Sabella insisted that a lot of good work by Messi's team-mates is going unnoticed.

"Any team that has a player like Messi will greatly depend on him," said Sabella.

"But I believe that what he's doing is the work of the entire team. He's the best player in the world, but he's part of a team."

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