Don't blame Messi if Argentina fail, says a disappointed Maradona

Belo Horizonte (Brazil), July 4: Legendary Argentine footballer Diego Maradona on Thursday said his country's performance in the World Cup was far-below their best and it was over-reliant on Lionel Messi, a Reuters report said. He said the team must improve its performance if it wanted to beat Belgium, who have played high-quality football in this World Cup.

Argentina will take on Belgium in the third quarter-final of the 2014 World Cup at the Estádio Nacional de Brasilia on Saturday.

Maradona, who captained Argentina in two World Cup finals, said in an analysis on Venezuelan TV that the La Albiceleste haven't yet got started in the ongoing tournament. He warned that over-reliance on Messi could see the star being targeted in case Argentina fail to meet expectations. Maradona said Messi could score a great goal but could not be held responsible for Argentina's loss if he failed to convert one.

Maradona said the Argentines were playing only at 40% of their capacity

The 53-year-old, arguably the best footballer the world has ever seen, was the coach of his national team in the 2010 World Cup. Argentines lost to Germany 0-4 in the quarterfinals in that edition.

Maradona was not impressed with his team's 1-0 victory over Switzerland in the Round of 16 and said Argentina were playing at only 40 per cent of their capacity.

Both Argentina and Belgium have won all their matches in this World Cup so far and both teams have won their matches with a single-goal difference.

But for Argentina, four of the seven goals they have scored so far have come off Messi's foot, forcing Maradona to say the "kid is very alone." In Belgium's case, the six goals they have scored so far have com from different players.

Maradona, who led Argentina to their second World Cup victory in 1986, said he felt something very strong inside to see his team not playing to its full potential.

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