France vs Argentina LIVE World Cup 2018: Prediction, how to watch online, what time, what channel, team news, betting odds, Lionel Messi latest
France and Argentina will kick off the knockout stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Saturday, when two of the favourites for the title meet in Kazan, Russia.
Les Bleus went unbeaten in Group C, while La Albiceleste narrowly escaped from Group D.
Neither side has played up to its full potential, but France have been the better team.
Here’s a look ahead at the contest:
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Date: Saturday, June 30
Time: 5 p.m. local time/3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET
Venue: Kazan Arena, Kazan
TV Info/Live Stream: https://livetvhd.info/football-live/
According to WhoScored.com, Samuel Umtiti is the only doubt on the French side, but he’s expected to be fit in time for the match.
Hugo Lloris, Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba are all likely to return to the starting XI after the side was rotated against Denmark.
Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Corentin Tolisso are one booking shy of a suspension if France reach the quarter-finals.
Argentina have no injury issues or suspensions, but Ever Banega, Gabriel Mercado, Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi, Marcos Acuna and Nicolas Otamendi are all one booking away from missing the next match.
Which Version of France Will Show Up?
Les Bleus arguably have more talent than any team in the tournament, with elite players in just about every position.
A midfield of Pogba and N’Golo Kante has the potential to dominate any side they face, and up front, they can afford to leave the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Thomas Lemar on the bench―they are that stacked.
However, manager Didier Deschamps can’t settle on a starting XI or even a formation, and he hasn’t stopped tinkering throughout the tournament. He has even used Matuidi―a holding midfielder―as a left-winger, and he is expected to do so again in the match against Argentina.
It’s fair to say he isn’t making any new fans with his approach:
Argentina have had similar issues but did appear to stumble on a system that works in their last outing, with Banega bringing some much-needed stability to the midfield in the win over Nigeria on Tuesday.
Gonzalo Higuain’s inclusion also gave the Super Eagles’ defence something to think about, but he failed to take his chances and could be replaced by Sergio Aguero.
The South Americans have glaring holes on the defensive side of the pitch, and cohesion remains a major issue as well. If France play up to their full potential, they should beat Argentina―but under Deschamps, Les Bleus have fallen short of that level too often.
Against Peru, Australia and Denmark, France could get away with that. But Argentina have enough attacking talent to punish even the smallest mistake, and after their close call against Nigeria, there’s finally some positivity surrounding the side.
Prediction: France come out flat again, but this time they run into a side capable of punishing them for it. France 0-1 Argentina.
Live TV World Cup games – the last-16 split (all times BST)
Saturday 15:00: France v Argentina
Saturday 19:00: Uruguay v Portugal
Sunday 15:00: Spain v Russia – BBC
Sunday 19:00: Croatia v Denmark
Monday 15:00: Brazil v Mexico
Monday 19:00: Belgium v Japan
Tuesday 15:00: Sweden v Switzerland
Tuesday 19:00: England v Colombia