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France Vs Argentina Preview: Lowly South Americans lock horns with all-star French with QF place at stake

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar

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Both the sides have failed to live up to expectations in the ongoing tournament so far.

In what is expected to be a slobber-knocker beginning to the knockout rounds of the FIFA World Cup, mighty France take on Argentina, who seem to be high on confidence, after their dramatic last-minute qualification into the round of 16. While everyone is betting on France due to their barely superior form, Argentina have seen the resurgence of Lionel Messi, who peaked at the right time.

It's a well-known fact that Messi is easily capable of single-handedly winning matches for his national team, but Argentina will face a daunting task against the well-oiled machine of France. With both teams barely scruffing their way into the knockout rounds, this will be an intriguing battle between the flair of the French against the resolve of the Argentinians.

About The Teams

France might have been one of the favorites to win the World Cup heading into the tournament, but they weren't entirely convincing despite winning their group. They were not convincing in their group matches and needed Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe's timely efforts to save them. The French need to step up if they're ambitions is to win the World Cup and will have to up the ante against an opposition like Argentina.

France really need to change their style and give more freedom to the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele, both of whom have been quite poor so far. Manager Deschamps needs to find the right balance and stop experimenting with his teams, as a lapse in concentration could be disastrous at this point of the tournament.

Argentina barely qualified for the round of 16 after being humiliated by Iceland and Croatia in the group stages. Marcos Rojo's stunning last-minute goal helped them progress to the knockout rounds and definitely gave them a boost in confidence, but there are still problems within the camp which could affect their on-field performances.

There seems to be a rift between manager Jorge Sampaoli and some senior players, with Messi rumoured to be in-charge of proceedings. Argentina have been very poor defensively and could be trounced by a dangerous side like France. They need to show some of the spirit from the last World Cup and be an organized unit who need to support Messi and hope that he comes up with the goods yet again.


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Venue

The match will be played in the beautiful Kazan Arena in Kazan, which has a capacity of almost 45,000! It will be the only Round of 16 bout to be played at this stadium.

Probable Lineups

France

Lloris, Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez, Kante, Pogba, Matuidi, Mbappe, Griezmann, Dembele, Giroud.

Argentina

Armani, Mercedo, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico, Mascherano, Banega, Perez, Di Maria, Messi, Aguero.

What To Expect

For France, Griezmann and Pogba are both under pressure to perform and will need to turn up against Argentina. The two share some great chemistry and can terrorize defenses if they get in the groove. Argentina will also need to beware of the threat of the electric Mbappe and Olivier Giroud, who could be a menace for their shaky defenders with his movement and goalscoring ability.

Argentina will definitely peg their hopes on Messi, who will find a daunting task in N'Golo Kante following him around everywhere. With him heavily marked, Angel di Maria and Sergio Aguero will need to prove their mettle.

It will definitely be an encounter to behold and we could see a really open game because of Argentina being unable to defend for their lives. Both teams have some world-class players in their ranks, but in the end, it will be the sheer will and mentality of champions which will help either side prevail to the quarterfinals.

Khel Now Predicts

France 1-2 Argentina

Published: Fri Jun 29, 2018 07:11 PM IST

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