MX23RW : Wednesday, August 15 06:39:22

Willy Caballero: 'Argentina can cope without Lionel Messi'

Caballero: 'Argentina can cope without Messi'
© Reuters
Argentina goalkeeper Willy Caballero defends his national team, insisting that they could cope without Lionel Messi in the World Cup.

Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero has insisted that Argentina are not reliant on Lionel Messi and can cope without the Barcelona star.

Messi watched from the stands as his international team were thumped 6-1 by Spain in March as the forward was struggling with injury.

While Messi will be fit to play for Argentina in the group stages, Caballero is adamant that the team will not see a repeat of their match against Julen Lopetegui's side - with or without Messi.

"It was a really, really weird game," Caballero told reporters.

"The result was strange ­because they had six chances and scored six goals. We had four and scored once. So our performance was not ­reflected in the result. But it was good that loss ­occurred when it did. It gave us time to improve. Of course, we can say on paper, 'Messi didn't play or [Angel] Di Maria didn't play'. But we defended Argentina and did it well enough.

"So it doesn't matter who is out. We have to do it ­better, as we did against Italy (winning 2-0) four days earlier."

Argentina will face Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria in Group D of the World Cup later this month.

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