Courtois relishing Messi test

Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is looking forward to going up against Argentina forward Lionel Messi in the countries’ World Cup quarter-final, ESPN has reported.

The sides meet on Saturday with the winners booking a place in the last four, Belgium having knocked out the United States in the Round of 16 while Argentina got past Switzerland.

Courtois added that facing Messi holds no fear as he knows the Barcelona man from his days on loan at Atletico Madrid. “I know him well from Atletico’s games against Barcelona, so it’ll be nice to play against him for our countries,” Courtois said.

“Hopefully we can win, but we’ll see,” he added. “The good thing is that I don’t have to watch videos of him because I know him so well. But even if you watch videos of him, he’s so unpredictable that it’s impossible to study him to know what he’s going to do.

“As soon as he finds a way to shoot, he will shoot, so the only thing you can do as a goalkeeper is concentrate at all times.”

Atletico and Barca drew 0-0 at Vicente Calderon in the first league meeting between the sides last season, with the second – the final game of the campaign – ending in a 1-1 draw, Alexis Sanchez netting for the Catalans as Atletico claimed the title. Messi had a goal disallowed in that game.

The sides also met in the Champions League, with Messi failing to score in either of the quarter-final games between the sides.

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