Messi is like water in the desert for his coach

Messi is like water in the desert for his coach

Messi is like water in the desert for his coach

Lionel Messi is like water in the desert, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said after his team beat Belgium 1-0 to reach the World Cup semifinals on Saturday.

Four-times World Player of the Year Messi failed to score and even squandered a clear scoring chance in stoppage time as the South Americans did the bare minimum to reach the last four for the first time since 1990.

But his mere presence on the field appeared to inhibit Belgium who were strangely cautious even when forced to chase the game after Gonzalo Higuain's early goal.

"I think Messi played really well, it's not just about scoring goals, it's about having possession of the ball, attracting three opponents and then giving the ball to a team-mate in an advantageous position," Sabella told reporters.

"Each time he gets the ball, it represents hope for all of us and a threatening situation for our opponents. Regardless of whether he scores goals or not, his influence is decisive.

"A game has many aspects, apart from goals," he added. "When you have a player such as Messi, who never, or almost never, loses the ball, it's water in the desert and not just when he scores.

"In the other game (against Switzerland), he gave a great pass to Angel Di Maria, and today, sometimes the ground was dry, and he gave us air each time he got the ball."

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