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Jul 3, 2014

Hazard hoping Messi has an off day

The ESPN FC Encore crew discuss Argentina's unimpressive form against Switzerland and debate which team will show up against Belgium.

Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard thinks his side have what it takes to beat Argentina -- if Lionel Messi has an off day.

Belgium beat the United States 2-1 in the last 16 on Tuesday to set up a quarterfinal tie with Argentina in Brasilia on Saturday.

Despite a nervy ending in extra time, Hazard, 23, believes that Belgium are coming into form at the right time.

"Yes, we have the means," the Chelsea player told L'Equipe, when asked if they could beat Argentina.

"But Messi could have a great day too and score three. We'll see -- what matters is that we have the opportunity. For the first time we won't start as favourites so we have nothing to lose."

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Belgium will look to Hazard for creativity but the former Lille player does not think it is fair to compare him to Messi, who was once again decisive in Argentina's extra time win over Switzerland.

"I don't know because he's 10 times better than me. In any case you should stop comparing me with him because it's not serious. We just have to hope that he might have a bad day," Hazard added, before joking "we're going to ask the Belgian supporters to go to his hotel and make some noise."

Meanwhile, Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta has revealed just how much his team rely on Barcelona star Messi, who scored four goals in the group stage and set up Angel Di Maria's winner in the last 16.

"We know he is our main player, our captain, the best player in the world," Zabaleta said. "This team is playing for him as we know how important Messi is for this team. "Every time we recover the ball we try to pass to him as he is the best player we have and he will score goals."

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