"He's one of the top players, he's done a major Euro competition and feels like being one of the great players of this World Cup". And on the other hand, they play has been downright terrible.
France will look to boss the midfield in a bid to limit supply to the lethal 31-year-old, who has struggled to impose himself in the tournament.
Deschamps sacrificed a golden chance for them to gel by shaking up his side for the 0-0 draw against Denmark, which secured qualification but did little to improve team cohesion. That's very poor for a team that features names such as Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and others on a regular basis. Can they live up to the expectations around them? That includes the full-back duo of Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe.
"We are talking about training a good set of professionals". But in Kante, they do have the best defensive midfielder in the world.
Messi finally got off the mark in this year's World Cup with a glorious goal in the massive 2-1 win over Nigeria, ending 622 minutes of World Cup football without a goal and becoming the first player to score a World Cup goal in his teens, 20s and 30s. "We have the best player on earth, but we have others who can make things hard for them too". Argentina have a fair share of talent as well, but things are simple: they will need to produce their best display in the tournament to have any chance at avoiding a Round of 16 exit.
Sampaoli has made a fair few big changes after their disappointing performances but this would be very sudden and surprising. Argentina have the edge on the head-to-head record, registering six wins against three draws and only two defeats. Since then, France are unbeaten in eight World Cup fixtures against CONMEBOL opposition (W4 D4). To make a comparison, two of Argentina's have seen over that same amount. On both occasions, they reached the final, losing it in 1930 and winning in 1978.
Umtiti, who is paired with Real Madrid's Raphael Varane in defence, should have a key role against Messi if he is well fed by his team, which was not always the case in the group phase, which Argentina escaped with a last-gap 2-1 win against Nigeria.
"We need collective answers, to give it our all individually and collectively".