France vs Argentina
Saturday 30/06/2018 | 15:00 GMT | Kazan Arena
The World Cup 2018 knockout stages kicks off in some style with the best of the round of 16 ties as France take on Argentina. Whatever the outcome here, one of the two pre-tournament favourites will be making an early exit from the competition, the stakes are simply huge for both teams.
Argentinian fan have already had a rollercoaster ride in this world cup so far. Completely outplayed and humiliated by Croatia, the pressure was on as they went into their final group game against Nigeria. Rumours of dressing room discontent surrounded the build-up to the game and it looked for all the world as though Argentina were on course to exit the tournament as they headed into the final ten minutes locked at 1-1. Step forward the unlikely source of Marcos Rojo to volley home on 86 minutes and salvage his team’s World Cup hopes.
They will have to play far better than they did in the groups if they want to go far in this competition but in truth the same could be said of France. Narrow wins over Australia and Peru followed by a thoroughly uninspiring 0-0 draw against Denmark at least saw them win Group C but three below-par showings only add to the mystery here.
Both sides have genuinely world class attacking talents and it could just be a question of who steps up to the plate and delivers on the day. France are the bookies favourites and it’s very hard to see them not breaking down what has looked like an unconvincing Argentine defence. The South Americans have only really come up against one strong side so far and Croatia ripped them open in the Second Half of their game, so the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe will fancy they can cause big problems here.
France had scored in 11 consecutive internationals before the dead rubber against Denmark and certainly have the stronger all-round team on paper. However, in the final third, Argentina still have so much quality and as their last game briefly showed, if they can get service to Leo Messi, he can produce. Playing against a more expansive and positive side might just suit Argentina in some respects and should at least allow Messi and whoever starts alongside him, a bit more space to play in. This could be Messi’s last ever game at the World Cup and he will be determined to make an impression.
Contrary to popular belief, Messi has delivered when it matters for his country in recent times. The only reason Argentina are at this World Cup is Messi’s hat-trick in their final qualifier in Ecuador. He opened his account for the tournament with a goal against Nigeria and with 7 goals in his last 7 internationals
France vs Argentina Betting Tips
|France vs Argentina||Both Teams to Score-Yes||2.1|
|France vs Argentina||Asian Total Corners Over 9.5||1.9|