Germany have ‘secret plan’ to stop Messi

Assistant coach Hansi Flick says Joachim Low and his team have devised a way to keep the Argentina star from running riot in Sunday's World Cup final at the Maracana
Germany assistant coach Hansi Flick says they have a ‘secret plan’ to stop Lionel Messi in the World Cup final on Sunday.

After four goals in the three group games, Messi assisted the winning strikes in both Argentina’s last-16 clash with Switzerland and the quarter-final tie against Belgium.

But the Barcelona star was shackled by the Netherlands' defence during 120 minutes of goalless action in the semi-final on Wednesday.

And although Flick revealed Germany will be paying special attention to the diminutive number 10, he refused to be drawn on what their ploy would entail.

"We saw how the Dutch managed to keep Messi out, but we too have a special plan for him, although I won't give that away," he said.

"We're looking forward to meeting a compact, organised team and in Messi, they have one of the outstanding players of the tournament.

"We know plenty about Argentina, Germany has to accept the role of favourites, but the final will write its own script."

Argentina have made it to their first final in 24 years, with their last appearance in the showpiece ending in a 1-0 defeat to West Germany at Italia '90.