In a game that both of these heavyweights perhaps wouldn’t have wanted, France face Argentina in the round-of-16 in Kazan to kickoff the knockout phase of the 2018 World Cup (WC).
After winning their first two group games by single-goal margins, France were able to coast in their final game against Denmark (0-0) having already qualified.
That draw last time out was ‘Les Blues’ seventh game overall unbeaten (W5, D2), part of a broader run of one defeat in 15 (W10, D4, L1). Those 15 games have seen them concede just 12 goals and keep seven clean sheets.
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Argentina were made to sweat to get to this stage. After a draw and a loss, Argentina were made to wait until an 86th minute winner against Nigeria (2-1) in their final group game to book their progression.
The struggle Argentina faced in their group is indicative of their recent form which has seen them win just three of their last seven (W3, D1, L3) and concede 15 goals!
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ARGENTINA VS FRANCE
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Despite the rich history of these two nations at WC finals (France 15/21 tournaments, Argentina 17/21), they have met just twice with Argentina winning both (1930, 1978). Overall the sides have met ten times, with Argentina registering six wins to one with three 0-0 draws.
Players to watch: Lionel Messi’s goal against Nigeria ended 662 minutes without a WC finals goal – will that spark an avalanche?
Antoine Griezmann (FRA) has just one goal this WC and is surely capable of better.
Stat attack: Both sides haven’t been losing at half-time in this tournament.
France have never lost their fourth game at a WC finals (six games).
Five of France’s last six games at WC finals have seen just one side score.
Argentina’s last five victories (in 90 minutes) at WC finals have been by just one goal.
Only two of the ten H2H games have seen both teams score.
Referee: Faghani A. (Irn)
Venue: Kazan Arena (Kazan)
live score match:
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Angel D Maria