Secret plan to stop Messi

Argentina's captain and forward Lionel Messi. AFP
Argentina's captain and forward Lionel Messi. AFP

Germany have a secret plan to shut down Argentina's Lionel Messi in Sunday's final in Rio de Janeiro.

Messi, 27, had a relatively quiet match against the Netherlands as Wednesday's semi-final was settled by penalties after a 0-0 draw. The four-time Ballon d'Or winner was often greeted by two Oranje shirts.

"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," Germany assistant coach Hansi Flick said.

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