Talking Points: Are France the most balanced side in the World Cup?
Written by: K.Koushik Venkatesh
The contest was decided by Les Bleus' raw power and pace to which the South Americans had no answer.
The first of the Round of 16 fixtures of the World Cup saw France play a resilient Argentina side. The game was one for the ages as the much-talented French side completely outplayed Sampaoli's men. Messi was the man they were always going to for ideas and as we’ve been seeing throughout this tournament, Messi alone cannot help this side and that was more evident today.
Argentina showed fight in getting back on level terms and even taking the lead through a lucky deflection to Mercado but the French side hit the Argentinean defence hard on the counters to which they had no answers. The fixture ended with the scoreline 4-3 and it could've been much worse for the La Albiceleste. Kylian M’bappe is a top talent and has the potential to be one of the greatest as he completely blew away the Argentinean defence.
1. Sampaoli lacks a plan
Sampaoli has shown his managerial intellect with the likes of the Chilean National team and Sevilla. Sampaoli has not done justice to this role that he has been offered and has not shown even a shade of improvement ever since their qualifiers.
With the likes of Higuain, Aguero and Dybala on the bench, it does not take long for someone to take notice and start asking questions. Sampaoli will most likely see himself out of the job and this stint will forever be a black mark on his resume.
2. Are France the most balanced side in the World Cup?
With a squad flourishing so much talent, France are arguably one of the most balanced sides in this World Cup. The kind of bench strength and the how strong their starting XI is, it’s quite apparent that we’re living in the era of France’s Golden Generation.
Didier Deschamps has done well in finding a formula for this side and he has deployed it well in the World Cup. It will not come as a surprise if people start calling for France to lift the trophy after such a matured performance.
3. Kylian M’bappe: One for the ages
The PSG speedster has been lighting it up in the World Cup so far. His marauding runs down the right wing have been a treat to watch for the fans and he’s a proper defender’s nightmare. The 19-year-old has been playing like a seasoned veteran and his matured performance against this Argentinean side only justifies all the hype that surrounds this teenager. He scored a goal, attempted 10 dribblers this game and was successful 7 times and also won the penalty which Griezmann expertly put away. A man of the match performance.
4. France’s kryptonite
If there is one apparent weakness that stands out of this France side, it’s the fact that they lack a proper leader amongst the side. It’s a really young side captained by Hugo Lloris but he does not come off as a very vocal leader on the pitch and that is something that France really lack.
Although they showed that they are a really capable side in coming back from 2-1 down to win 4-3, if there is one standout weakness that can be pointed out, it is that they lack a leader on the pitch.
5. Is this the end for Messi at the International stage?
Messi has been an absolute workhorse throughout this World Cup. Every time Argentina were to produce something spectacular, Messi was a part of it. His performance against Nigeria and France showed the kind of player he is and even though there is an obvious lack of talent around him, Messi is capable of turning the game on his head by himself.
Another retirement announcement in fray?
Messi, who’s currently 31, could very well be playing his final World Cup this year and this is not the fairytale ending that his fans’ and he himself would have wanted. If there is one thing he could regret in his illustrious career, it will be not winning titles for his country.
Published: Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:16 PM IST