Preview - France vs Argentina 30 June 18

Started by Harry85, Jun 29, 2018, 08:57 PM

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World Cup Last 16
France vs Argentina
Saturday, June 30th, 2018
23:00pm, (GMT +8 Timing)
Stadium: Kazan Arena

Last five matches form: W D W W D
Average goals per match last ten: 1.80
Average goals against per match last ten: 0.90
Top Scorer: Olivier Giroud (31)

Last five matches form: L W D L W
Average goals per match last ten: 1.60
Average goals against per match last ten: 1.60
Top Scorer: Lionel Messi (65)

As good as the Group stage has been - and it has been unusually good at this World Cup - you simply can't beat knockout football when it comes to pressure, entertainment and tension. The Round of 16 gets underway this weekend and it starts with an absolute cracker between two heavyweights as France take on Argentina.

France would be most people's favourites headed into this game but in truth one of the teams they would least like to face is probably Argentina. These two nations have met four times in the past, and Argentina have won them all, including twice at the World Cup Finals themselves.

Argentina started slowly when only drawing with Iceland, and then looked to be in big trouble when trounced by Croatia. A late Marcos Rojo goal against Nigeria was enough to see them through in the end though, and with the mercurial Messi in the line-up they may be a dangerous animal in the knockout stages.

France's progress has been serene by comparison, beating Australia and Peru in their first two games before playing out a dull draw with Denmark safe in the knowledge that that result would see both teams through.

France look to have been playing within themselves so far and do have the better starting eleven overall. Argentina were massively improved against Nigeria in their last game though and in Messi they have a player capable of hurting any side. We can't split these two and see extra time and possibly penalties being required.

Prediction: France 2 - 2 Argentina


Half time: 1 - 1
Full time: 4 - 3
Shots: 12 - 8
Shots on target: 8 - 7
Corner Kicks: 0 - 4
Possession: 40% - 60%

A busy afternoon for referee Alireza Faghani with France's Blaise Matuidi, Benjamin Pavard and Olivier Giroud and Argentina's, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Tagliafaco, Javier Mascherano, Ever Banega and Nicolas Otamendi all being booked.

Not a bad way to kick of the Round of 16 as France and Argentina produced a seven goal thriller. Argentina dominated the ball, but France probably did deserve this overall in terms of chances created.

It was France who started the quicker and very nearly took the lead inside the first ten minutes when Antoine Griezmann's free kick thumped back off the crossbar.

In the 13th minute France did take the lead. Sensational run from Kylian Mbappé from deep inside his own half all the way into the Argentina box where he was effectively rugby tackled by Marcos Rojo. Griezmann stepping up to slot into the bottom left corner from the spot.

Four minutes before half time Argentina were back on level terms in sensational style. Angel Di Maria picking the ball up in a central area around 25 yards from goal and unleashing a stunning swerving strike into the top right corner. What a goal!

Then six minutes into the second half Argentina took the lead. Following the breakdown of a free kick Lionel Messi spun and fired on goal from the edge of the area. The ball struck Gabriel Mercado on the way through, wrongfooting Hugo Lloris and hitting the back of the net.

And then France caught fire.

In the 57th minute Lucas Hernndez's cross from the left skipped out everyone but found Benjamin Pavard arriving on the edge of the 18 yard box on the right hand side. Sublime first time volley from the youngster, striking across the ball to find the top left corner.

Then in the 64th minute France were back in the lead. Hernandez again from the left-hand side, with his cross this time causing a scramble in the area. Mbappé did well to control and find space before firing low on goal. Keeper Franco Armani got a hand to it but will be disappointed not to have kept it out.

Four minutes later Les Bleus struck again, this time on the counter attack. Flowing move involving Matuidi and Olivier Giroud seeing Mbappé played in on the left of the box. Excellent first time finish into the bottom left and France had a little breathing space.

Argentina did set up a nervy finale when striking in the 93rd minute; Messi brilliantly picking out Sergio Agüero in the area to head home first time.

Argentina continued to push, with the very last touch of the game seeing a deflected effort clear the French crossbar.

It is Didier Deschamps men who progress to the quarter finals though where Uruguay lie in wait.

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