France vs Argentina
2018 World Cup Round of 16
Date: Saturday, 30 June 2018
Kick-Off at 15:00 UK / 16:00 CET
Venue: Kazan Arena, Kazan.
- The stage is set for the clash of the titans as pre-tournament favourites France take on Argentina in the first round of 16 tie at the World Cup in Russia.
- France head into it as slight favourites following teams’ group stage performances.
- Argentina won each of past four head to head games with Les Bleus conceding just once in the process.
Argentina had a non-inspirational and rather dismal campaign in the group, but they somehow managed to find the way past Nigerian defense to pick up a last-gasp win on the final day and advance into the knockout stage for the fifth time in a row at World Cups.
Kazan Arena will thus have the honour of hosting a mouth-watering clash between two world heavyweights in the first R16 affair of the tournament on Saturday afternoon.
France vs Argentina Match Preview
Los Gauchos were well thrown on the ropes late in the second half of the decisive tie with valiant Nigeria, but they stepped up to find the late goal through an unlikely figure as Marcos Rojo was the one who sent them through and saved their World Cup dreams.
The fans around the globe can actually thank Rojo for prolonging Lionel Messi’s international career as one of the best footballers in the world has a farewell to the national side all set up after the tournament in Russia.
Barcelona’s superstar finally showed some of his magic when he converted the extraordinary long pass from Ever Banega who enjoyed his first start of the competition on the day. Messi beautifully executed past Nigeria keeper Uzoho to bring Diego Armando Maradona and the entire Argentine population into delirium before the aforementioned finish with Rojo netting the winner at the death actually happened.
Nevertheless, the fact is the Argentines will need a miracle to make a deeper run than the last 16 round with this game. They are now up against France who came into the tournament as one of the main contenders, but who, just like La Albiceleste, disappointed in the group phase.
Les Bleus’ progress never came in doubt, though, but we did not see anything from the expected attacking style promised by the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Thomas Lemar, Paul Pogba etc etc.
France vs Argentina Team News and Predicted Line-ups
France Team News
Didier Deschamps made as many as six changes for the last game of the group phase, resting some of his key figures for the last 16 round affair.
Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Pavard, Samuel Umtiti, Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Kylian Mbappe are all expected to return to the starting XI against Argentina.
We can expect Les Bleus to shift to the 4-3-3 formation they used in the opening contest against Australia, with Dembele, Mbappe and Griezmann up front.
France Predicted Starting Eleven (4-3-3)
Lloris – Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez – Tolisso, Kante, Pogba – Mbappe, Griezmann, Dembele.
Argentina Team News
The situation in the Argentine dressing room is far from ideal as Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano appear to be the ones who select the starting XI.
Jorge Sampaoli’s influence is heavily damaged after initial failures against Iceland and Croatia.
Los Gauchos practically lost the formation and the shape, but we have reasons to expect a similar side to the one that started the clash with Nigeria.
River Plate’s keeper Franco Armani, who made his debut against the Super Eagles, is once again expected to start instead of Willy Caballero.
Argentina Predicted Starting Eleven (4-2-3-1)
Armani – Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico – Banega, Mascherano – Di Maria, Perez, Messi – Higuain.
France vs Argentina Head-to-head
The head to head statistics completely favour Argentina here as La Albiceleste won all of past four meetings with France.
The first one took place at the 1930 World Cup and it saw a 1-0 victory for Argentina who also clinched a 2-1 win at the same competition 46 years after.
Most recent encounters had a friendly character and they saw Argentina winning 1-0 and 2-0 in 2007 and 2009.
That said, Les Bleus have only scored one goal in four head to head affairs with Argentina over the course of history. Will they end the negative trend this time out at the biggest stage?
France vs Argentina Predictions
These two sides have only notched three goals apiece in the tournament. Given the stakes will be even larger when they take on each other in the eliminatory affair, the most logical betting option would be backing a low-scoring contest.
Argentina’s defensive line might be the biggest problem for such bet as Jorge Sampaoli’s men conceded at least once in all of three group matches even though the opposition included Iceland and Nigeria there. They shipped as many as three to Croatia in the second round and we wonder how they intend to stop the star-studded attacking line of France’s here.
Another problem for Los Gauchos is the age of their players since the starting XI against the Super Eagles was the oldest ever to appear at this competition (average age of over 30 years).
Based on everything we’ve seen so far in the tournament, France to qualify just has to be taken at 1.61.
- Predicted Full-Time Result is a clean sheet victory for France.
France vs Argentina Betting Tips
Under 2.5 goals FT @ 1.50.
France to qualify @ 1.61.
Correct FT Score: 2-0 France @ 10.00.