Today’s Predictions : France Vs Argentina

France 4 – 3 Argentina

The first round of 16 match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 is between European giants France and Lionel Messi’s Argentina.    

  • Date : 30th June 2018
  • Time : 7:30 PM (IST)
  • Venue : Kazan Stadium  

Probably the biggest match of the tournament so far, we have France taking on Argentina in a potentially blockbuster of a game. With Lionel Messi finally finding his scoring touch, can he again take his nation all the way to the final again ?

FIFA World Cup Qualification

France had a decent qualifying phase, topping a tricky group also including Sweden and The Netherlands, eventually finishing 4 points above both of them. Draws against Luxemborg and Belarus, however, were disappointing, and Didier Deschamps’ men would be looking to improve to live up to the tag of pre-tournament favourites.

Argentina were in grave danger of not qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2018, with unexpected defeats at home to Paraguay and Ecuador, and a crushing 3-0 defeat in Brazil. The ‘Albiceleste’ changed 3 different managers across the qualification phase, and their dependence on Messi was highlighted as they failed to win the games which his missed due to injury. It took a special performance from their best player in the final qualifier to secure a spot in the tournament, with Messi scoring a stunning hattrick against Ecuador.

Team Form

France have been in confident form in recent times, with 3 big wins in a row against Italy, Ireland and Russia. A rare 3-2 defeat to Colombia was preceded by an entertaining 2-2 draw with defending World Champions Germany, proving that this new young crop of French footballers have what it takes to match with the best in the world.

Argentina have endured a mixed run of form in recent weeks. They have won 4 out of their last 6 matches, including an impressive 2-0 victory over Italy. However, they conceded 10 goals in two crushing defeats to Spain and Nigeria, making fans extremely worried about their fragile defense. They started the World Cup horribly but finally got their first win in the last group stage match, to qualify.  

France and Argentina World Cup So Far

France were handed a relatively straightforward opening fixture against comparative minnows Australia. However, it was anything but straightforward, as the Kangaroos brought their A game to the field, and gave France a royal scare. Les Bleus needed a fortunate deflected striker from Paul Pogba in the dying minutes of the game to finally get over the finishing line. They beat Peru by a narrow margin in their second game, and did not look very convincing overall. In the third game again, France were far from dominant, as Paul Pogba was rested. They couldn’t get past a resilient Danish side and had to settle for a draw.

Argentina succumbed to a shock 1-1 draw against World Cup debutants Iceland in their opening fixture, with Lionel Messi largely disappointing, none more so than when he missed a penalty that would have given them the lead. Their defence looked shaky again and that is a major worry for this top-heavy side. In their second match, they were completely thrashed by a brilliant Croatia side, as they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat. Staring at an early exit, Argentina were under immense pressure in their match against Nigeria, but eventually won the game with a late Marcus Rojo winner, after Messi had set them on their way with his first goal of the tournament.

Head To Head Record

These two nations have met 4 times before, with Argentina winning all 4 of those matches, conceding just 1 goal in the process.    

Team News

Along with Spain, France have dropped some of most high profile players in the world, to the shock and dismay of many fans. Manchester United’s mercurial winger Antony Martial and FC Bayern’s Kingsley Coman could not find a space in the final 23 man squad. Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema was excluded as expected, but an even bigger omission was that of Arsenal’s new striker Lacazette, while the player he essentially replaced at the club i.e. Olivier Giroud being selected instead. Dimitri Payet also lost the race against time to be fit for the tournament.

Argentina pulled off one of the biggest surprises when it came to squad selection, when they left out Serie A’s top scorer Mauro Icardi, with rumours of a rift between the striker and Lionel Messi. However, Manuel Lanzini’s ACl tear has ensured that he will miss the World Cup, and Icardi might be selected to take his place. Apart from that, goalkeeper Sergio Romero has also been ruled out due to injury.

Players To Watch Out For

When it comes to France, the spotlight will firmly be on their number 10 Antoine Griezmann, who won the Golden Boot as well as the Golden Ball at Euro 2016, to prove that he can elevate his game when it comes to playing for his nation. Premier League midfield enforcers Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante will be looking to live up to the hype and form a formidable partnership in the middle. This could also be Ousmanne Dembele’s chance to announce himself at the biggest stage of them all.

Argentina have an abundance of attacking talent. So many world-class players that it is difficult to mention just a few of them. Lionel Messi is the undisputed best player in the squad, and the team will revolve around him Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain are more than capable of sharing the goal-scoring burden with him, while the young Paulo Dybala would like to announce himself on the big stage. The experienced Angel Di Maria is also one to watch as he can turn the game around single handedly.

France Vs Argentina Betting Odds And Key Statistics

  • France are slight favourites for this clash, with their form judged as being better than that of Argentina.
  • Antoine Griezmann was the top scorer at the Euro 2016 campaign, and betting on him to open the scoring in this match would be a good idea. Similarly, Messi has finally found his scoring touch, and betting on him to be the first goalscorer could yield good returns.
  • Argentina had an eventful group stage phase, conceding 5 goals and scoring 3 in 3 matches. Hence, we would advise betting on both teams to score in this match.
  • Though we expect France to eventually overcome their South American counterparts, we advise betting on a scored draw within 90 minutes, as that is usually the trend between big teams in knockout games.

Predicted Result

Both these teams haven’t really looked convincing so far in this tournament. While France could only scrape through 2 narrow wins and a draw, Argentina needed a late late goal to eventually qualify. We expect this match to go into extra time, where France might nick it with a late winner.

Our Predicted Scoreline: France 2-1 Argentina (After extra time)

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