Argentina coach admits: We depend on Messi

Lionel Messi Argentina

Alejandro Sabella speaks ahead of Argentina's last-16 tie against Switzerland.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella admitted that his side depend on Lionel Messi as they prepare to face Switzerland in the World Cup Round of 16.

His side, who have been among the favourites to win the tournament since it began, were slightly disappointed in the group stage and were somewhat bailed out by their talisman. 

The Barcelona star scored the winning goals in victories against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran, before netting twice in Argentina's 3-2 triumph over Nigeria.

Messi's goal against Iran was particularly memorable. After Argentina had toiled away for 90 minutes but failed to break through their opponents' defence, he shifted the ball onto his left foot and curled a majestic strike into the top corner from 25 yards out to seal the win.

But Sabella insists it is "normal" for a side to rely on their top player, and compared Messi to Brazil's Neymar in that regard.

"I think both players are amazing players," Sabella said. "Messi is the best in the world, Neymar is a great player, and of course with players like those the team depends on them."

He added: "It is normal, Argentina depends on Messi and Brazil depends on Neymar. It is normal."

With four goals each, Messi and Neymar are among the top scorers in this year's tournament, with only Columbia's James Rodriguez ahead of them on five.

  TeamPosMinsTouchesGoalsShotsShots On TargetDribblesSuccessful DribblesApps
Neymar Brazil FW 369 264 4 15 9 33 14 4
Lionel Messi Argentina FW 243 209 4 14 5 29 17 3

Messi has, however, played one fewer game than Rodriguez and Neymar, and will be looking to make some headway in the race to the Golden Boot when Argentina face Switzerland on Tuesday.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch