FIFA World Cup 2018: France vs Argentina- Match Preview
Two of football's powerhouses France and Argentina take on each other, tonight, in a crunch round of 16 battle at the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018. Both teams haven't been in top gear, but did enough to qualify for the knock-outs. It's an epic encounter which has managed to capture the imagination of fans all around the globe. Here is everything about this fixture.
Argentina face an uphill task against France
Argentina struggled to create an impact in their opening two games and had to leave it till late, in their final group game, against Nigeria to qualify. The Lionel Messi-led side now face the most daunting task of their campaign as they take on a strong French team filled with world class names. Jorge Sampaoli needs to get his selection spot on this time.
France will be wary of hungry Argentina
Didier Deschamps and Co. have all the firepower to get past Argentina, but they will know that the South American giants will come hard at them. The biggest issue, which France will face, is to stop Messi. France forwards will test Argentine defense and one will expect them to score. France also have an excellent mid-field, at their disposal, that will challenge their counterparts.
Stat attack - France vs Argentina
These two sides will be facing each other for the 12th time and Argentina have the upper hand with six wins in the last 11 encounters. Argentina have reached the knock-outs for the 12th time in last 13 tournaments. France have conceded just 5 shots on target in three games. Surprisingly, Messi has never scored in the knock-out stage of the premier tournament.
Players to watch out for in this key game
For France the trio of Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba will hold the aces for the 2016 European Championship finalists. Pogba could create the spaces in the mid-field and hurt a ponderous looking Argentina. Varane is rock solid at defense and so is Griezmann in attack. For Argentina, Messi is their best bet. Ever Banega needs to deliver in the mid-field.
TV listing, timing and venue
The match is set to be played at the Kazan Arena. The epic encounter is set to start at 7:30 PM IST. It can be watched live on the Sony Ten Network in both Hindi and English commentary.