Lionel Messi has stated that he wishes his Argentina side “were more like Germany” ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was speaking to Argentine sports channel TyC Sports, where he confirmed his admiration for the nation that beat him in the 2014 World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro as he looks for revenge in Russia.
“I wish we were more like Germany and worked like them,” Messi said. “They keep working on a long-term plan and rejuvenate the team at the right time.
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“They’re already preparing for the next World Cup,” the Barcelona forward continued, likely referencing the extension of coach Joachim Löw’s contract to the 2022 edition in Qatar.
The 123-time Argentina international was also full of praise for the strength in depth of the world champions, lauding their “surplus of players” and ability to “easily put out two teams in the World Cup, like they did in the Confederations Cup they won.”
For Messi, this comes, above all, down to the differing mentalities between the two 2014 World Cup finalists. “They have a different way of preparing, letting people work, and judging them on what they do.”
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Argentina’s hero in a difficult qualification campaign, the earliest Messi & Co. could look to exact revenge on Germany is in the semi-finals should they both finish in the same position in their respective groups. It would be a repeat final if the two nations end their groups in first and second.