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Preview: France v Argentina

  • Knockout levels get underway with a cracker in Kazan
  • France have the measure of most South American sides – besides Argentina
  • THE LATEST: #FRAARG Stay Weblog updating now

The knockout levels of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ start on Saturday, with France and Argentina set to satisfy in Kazan for the primary Spherical of 16 encounter. These two heavyweights of worldwide soccer are all the time among the many favourites to raise the Trophy, and boast of among the recreation’s largest superstars, from Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann to Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria. It’s a duel to heat the hearts of each devotee of the gorgeous recreation.

L’Equipe Tricolore navigated their approach out of the group levels with two wins and a draw. Whereas Didier Deschamps’ star-studded squad haven’t but confronted a really difficult take a look at, they’ve actually not dazzled both. The 1998 world champions should step issues up at the least yet one more gear. Will conserving vitality and resting a few of their largest names within the final group match in opposition to Denmark work to France’s benefit? The Europeans appear to have the measure of South American groups, having gone eight FIFA World Cup™ matches unbeaten in opposition to these sides – however the final nation to defeat Les Bleus within the competitors in 1978 was Argentina – who else?

Having completed as runners-up at Brazil 2014, La Albiceleste narrowly prevented struggling the identical destiny as reigning champions Germany within the group levels. The match now begins in earnest for the two-time World Cup winners. A tricky begin to the competitors may very well be precisely the motivation the South People want to boost their recreation in opposition to higher groups and harness their immense attacking potential, which centres round Lionel Messi. Argentina have emerged victorious from each of the pair’s two earlier World Cup conferences, finally reaching the Closing on each events.

Crew reporter evaluation
Adrien Gingold, France [Follow: Twitter | Facebook]​
“This would be the first true take a look at for France, who’ve but to hit their stride at this World Cup. Whereas Les Bleus appear relaxed right here in Istra and demand that they’re making ready for “a standard match”, there isn’t any doubt that the stress is rising. One Argentinian is the topic of each dialogue and query from journalists – are you able to guess who?”

Diego Zandrino, Argentina [Follow: Twitter | Facebook]​
“Argentina discovered solutions when it mattered to edge their approach into the knockout stage. Now France appears to be the proper rival to check whether or not La Albiceleste is again for good or not. Jorge Sampaoli may begin the identical 11 for the primary time since he took the reins, which might point out how a lot he favored the efficiency in opposition to Nigeria. The Argentinians might want to management the tempo of the sport in opposition to a younger, athletic and really proficient French crew.”

Do you know?
757 – France haven’t conceded a aim of their final seven World Cup matches (757 minutes) in opposition to South American opposition. The final man from this continent to attain in opposition to Les Bleus was Brazil’s Careca again in 1986.

Attainable line-ups
France: Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante; Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele; Olivier Giroud.

Argentina: Franco Armani; Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Roja, Nicolas Tagliafico; Ever Banega, Javier Mascherano, Enzo Perez, Angel Di Maria; Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain.

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