Messi faces a Himalayan task, says Raul

The former Real Madrid attacker is eagerly anticipating the match between Argentina and Netherlands but feels the Barcelona star could struggle to make an impact
Former Spain international Raul believes that Lionel Messi faces a tough task to lead Argentina past Netherlands in Wednesday's World Cup semi-final.

The Dutch impressed against Spain in the group stages, while they also saw off Australia, Chile, Mexico and Costa Rica and Raul thinks Louis van Gaal's men will pose a stern challenge for the Barcelona star when they meet in Sao Paulo.

Keep up with all the latest news from Brazil and get involved in the debate on Twitter with our new World Cup Social Hub
"Messi's Barcelona team-mates were in for a rude shock against the Netherlands in their first match in the group. Four more trips down the road, the Dutch are looking sharper and hungrier," Raul told Times of India.

"They will face Messi now, who won't have Angel Di Maria by his side. It's going to be a Himalayan task for the world's best player, to take his team to the final on his own.    

"Messi started the World Cup with four Man-of-the-Match awards. In the fifth too, the move for the goal by Higuain was started by him.

"But the Belgians were able to somewhat contain him. There is only one way to do that. You have men around him in the middle third, so that he cannot start those incisive runs.

"One inspiring performance can change a team, like a certain Diego Maradona did in 1986. Messi is capable of doing that."

Argentina last made it to the final of the World Cup in 1990, when they were eventually beaten by West Germany.