Round of 16: France vs Argentina soccer world cup Preview

France vs Argentina soccer world cup Preview

France and Argentina will square off in the opening Round of 16 contest on Saturday the 30th of June 2018. 

We’re already on to the next phase of the soccer world cup following what has been an absolute bloodbath in the group stage. Plenty of big names have either been eliminated or suffered major scares since Robbie Williams showed us all the middle finger in the opening ceremony. 

The title is up for grabs and none of the so-called giants of world football have looked especially confident at this year’s showpiece. France and Argentina will go toe-to-toe at Kazan Arena on Saturday afternoon with neither side having impressed. It’s time to step up or go home.

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France v Argentina | Kazan Arena | Saturday 30 June | 16:00

To Win (90 Mins) 
France 14/10 | Draw 2/1 | Argentina 23/10

France came into this tournament as strong contenders to be crowned champions of the world. In all honesty, Les Bleus haven’t done much to prove themselves as worthy contenders just yet. 

Fair enough, we have just reached the Round of 16 but if you look at their performances against Australia (2-1), Peru (1-0) and Denmark (0-0), they were average at best. Surely, the French have enough quality in that team to steamroll any of the above-mentioned teams on a regular day? 

Maybe I’m being too hard on them. After all, most teams only begin to shine from this stage of the tournament onwards and we can only hope that France pull up their socks and start playing the kind of football we know they can. 

From the back to the front, Les Bleus have arguably the strongest and most well-balanced team (Including fantastic fringe players) in the tournament. It’s time for the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe to come to the party!

I hate repeating myself but I can say the same for Argentina. La Celeste have failed to impress at the 2018 finals with Diego Maradona’s antics making more headlines. Well in all fairness, they have made some headlines, but only due to their spectacularly poor performances.  

Manager Jorge Sampaoli’s men began the tournament with a surprise 1-1 draw against the tiniest nation (by population) to ever qualify for the World Cup – Iceland. 

Okay, fine, it was the opening game and teams are still finding their feet but there was no excuse for their 3-0 thrashing at the hands of a rampant Croatian side. That defeat left Argentina with a must-win game against Nigeria and they did just that as Marcus Rojo left it late with a well-timed volley into the bottom corner of the net. 

They need to build on that but it will be easier said than done against the French. Messi has been a great leader but this is a team sport and the rest of his side need to show more character, guts and determination if Argentina are to progress to the next round. 

Verdict: Argentina (23/10) 
France are likely to dominate possession with their superior midfield but I feel that might suit the Argentineans, who have a side built to counter-attack with pace and power. With that being said, I’m backing Argentina to grind out a victory. 

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