Argentina vs. France
|Date & Time||Saturday June 30, 2018, 10:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: France +130 / Draw +225 / Argentina +217 -- Over/Under: 2.5
We have some World Cup knockout stage action as France takes on Argentina in the round of 16 from the Kazan Arena on Saturday.
France comes into the knockout stages as the winners of group C, claiming 7 of a possible 9 points with two wins and a draw, with the draw coming in their last outing in what many would call a snooze fest in a 0-0 draw with Denmark to close out the group stage. Granted a point was all either side would need to advance, however France pushed the issue a bit more than the Danes, holding 62% possession while outshooting Denmark 11-5 and 4-1 in regards to shots on target.
Argentina on the other hand left many on the edge of their seats, wondering if the team would even make it to this point of the tournament, needing a win in their final match against Nigeria to have a chance at the knockout rounds, a win that the Argentines got in the form of a 2-1 victory on Tuesday. Lionel Messi gave Argentina the lead just 14 minutes in with a spectacular solo effort and it stayed that way until the 51st minute when Nigeria equalized from the penalty spot. Minutes went by and Argentina could see their tournament hopes slipping away before being given an extra life when Marcos Rojo gave Argentina the lead in the 86th minute, booking a spot in the knockout rounds. Argentina out possessed Nigeria 66%-34%, but were outshot 9-8 overall. Argentina did put 4 shots on target to Nigeria’s 3 in the winning effort.
These two sides have met four times in their respective histories, with Argentina winning all four matches dating back to 1930, by a combined score of 6-1.
Argentina have had the run of success in this fixture, but I’m concerned for Argentina that they’ve used all of their energy to just make it to this point. France were able to rest some key players against Denmark and while I want to see Messi hold up the trophy, I just don’t see it happening as France will finally exorcise their demons and take down Argentina to move onto the quarterfinals.