Lionel Messi shouldn't be blamed if Argentina fail according to Maradona

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Controversial World Cup winner, Diego Maradona, insists that Argentina have not produced their best football in Brazil as of yet, are over-reliant on Lionel Messi and need to up their game against a talented Belgium in their crucial World Cup quarter-final clash, as reported by Reuters.

World Cup winner

Maradona, a World Cup winner with Argentina in 1986, knows what it is like to carry the weight of a nation on his shoulders and the former international coach believes that the team is playing way below their capabilities.

Maradona told Venezuelan television after Argentina edged Switzerland 1-0 in the last round: "We still haven't got started." 

"They need to get it into their heads that we can't be 'Sporting Messi'. Maybe he can score a great goal ... but if it doesn't come off for the kid, we can't jump on him tomorrow as if he's guilty of the Argentine disaster."

"Man-for-man, and collectively, Argentina are better. They (the Swiss) may make good watches but they have few footballers," the always controversial Maradona said.

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Argentina not at their best

Argentina decided to train away from prying eyes at their Belo Horizonte base before flying to Brasilia for Saturday's clash with Belgium and despite scraping four wins from four the nation is not satisfied with the overall performances of their team.

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Messi keeping them afloat

Messi has contributed four of their seven goals and has been awarded the man-of-the-match award in each of those games, however Maradona believes the wins have masked over the individual performances of some of the other players in the team, which have been well below par.

He stressed that Messi needs more support from those around him if they are going to go all the way.

"The kid (Messi) is very alone ... The team doesn't have a change of rhythm, movements in its strikers," added Maradona, saying the players lacked a give-it-all attitude.

"I feel something very strong inside, like bitterness, rage, frustration, because Argentina can play much, much better ... The coach has to impose this." If they do not improve against Belgium, "we're in trouble," he said.

Argentina are chasing a third World Cup title and first since 1986. To win on Brazilian soil against their great rivals would be one of their pinnacle victories without question.

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