The knock out round of the World Cup kicks off with a blockbuster encounter between France and Argentina on Saturday. With Sixteen teams remaining in the hunt, it promises to be a fascinating next couple of weeks, and all the extravaganza will start from tomorrow.
Match Details: France vs Argentina
Date and Time: 30th June, 19.30 IST
Venue: Kazan Arena, Kazan
France have a solitary injury concern as defender Samuel Umtiti is doubtful for Saturday. Also a host of changes are expected from the last match as Pogba, Kylian Mbappe are expected to start. Olivier Giroud is expected to be in the substitutes bench while left back Benjamin Mendy may also start for the first time after returning from an injury that kept him out from a title winning season with Manchester City.
Jorge Sampaoli has no such injury concerns and the South Americans will be aiming to keep an unchanged side that played against Nigeria.
Both the teams have so far not played anywhere near their capability in the tournament. France were group Champions but their play has been below par in all the three matches. The French stars haven’t yet lived up to their potential and that can be a concern for Deschamps. Argentina also were poor and were in danger of going out but Marcos Rojo came to the rescue as he scored a stunning goal against Nigeria to carry them to the knock out stage. Lionel Messi showed glimpse of his class in the last match but it will be against a lot more difficult side on Saturday.
Both the teams were on the hotlist of many pundits to reach at least up to the Semi Final stage, but one of the team will be leaving Kazan tears and it has to be seen who try to avoid that and leave with rejoice and renewed dream.
Probable Line Up:
France: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Mendy; Pogba, Kante; Mbappe, Griezmann, Lemar; Giroud
Argentina: Armani; Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Banega, Mascherano, Meza; Messi, Di Maria; Aguero
Argentina forward Lionel Messi has never scored in the knockout stages of the World Cup: 666 minutes, 0 goals. He is the last Argentinian player to score against France, back in February 2009 in a friendly.
France’s Olivier Giroud has failed to score in his last 357 minutes at a major tournament, with his last goal dating back to the Euro 2016 quarterfinal against Iceland. He’s yet to register a shot on target at this year’s World Cup, having spent 200 minutes on the pitch.
Didier Deschamps will be taking charge of his 80th game as France manager, a new record as he overtakes Raymond Domenech.
Betting Odds: (via betway)
The match will be telecast live on SONY TEN network from 19.30 IST on Saturday for Indian viewers.