Messi's team-mates must match him - Raul

The former Spain star believes the rest of the Argentina team have to lift their performances to match their most influential player so far in the World Cup

Argentina have to step up their performances to take the burden off Lionel Messi if they are to overcome Belgium in the World Cup quarter-finals, according to Raul.

The Albiceleste captain has made the difference for his side in each of their games in their march to the World Cup quarter-finals, having scored four goals and picked up one assist in the four games they have played.

And Raul believes the rest of the team have to lift their game to Messi's level, just like Diego Maradona's team-mates did to win the tournament in 1986.

"Messi has been the man of the match in all four matches and to demonstrate such class and composure day in and day out takes some doing," he wrote in Times of India. 

"It's true that his men have not looked great but to know that they have someone like him is a big confidence booster.

"The Swiss kept Messi quiet for a long time but he still found the idea that turned the match. The ability to do this under strict vigil in every game makes him extraordinary.

"Argentina have to rally around Messi. Their forward line lacks bite with Higuain and Lavezzi struggling to do the job. Despite scoring a fine goal, Angel di Maria is blowing hot and cold and was ineffective for a large period.

"Against a tight Belgian defence, they won't get many chances and must produce a better show[ing] overall.

"Messi is doing what Maradona had done in 1986 but others in blue and white are yet to respond the way Maradona's teammates did back then."

The former Spain and Real Madrid star believes Alejandro Sabella's side will struggle against Belgium in the quarter-finals. 

"Argentina have a tough nut to crack now. In all four matches, they have scored late, which shows they have that bit extra that helps them lift their game as the match grows older. Belgium have a safe goalkeeper behind a solid defence.

"There is mobility in the midfield and defenders are adding thrust to the attack by producing surprise bursts.

"Origi and Lukaku were genuine threats upfront. After a one-dimensional first half, they looked different after the break when both flanks started moving. Under Jurgen Klinsmann, USA were worthy opponents despite playing under pressure, and nailing them after a long tussle was no mean achievement."