France vs Argentina: 3 changes Didier Deschamps should make
France vs Argentina is the most anticipated match of the World Cup Round of 16. On one hand, you have the French, boasting probably the most talented team in the tournament - a squad so deep that they had to leave out the likes of Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette. On the other hand, you have an Argentinian attack with so much quality that Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala regularly find themselves on the bench. They also have a guy called Lionel Messi.
Nonetheless, both teams are not without their problems. France have failed to click as their star-studded attack still struggles to gel as they have only scored three goals in three games. Argentina had a roller-coaster ride in the group stages as strange tactics, ineffectual play, an unpopular manager and horrible chemistry saw them only pick up one point from their first two games. While a win over Nigeria ensured their entry into the knockout stages, it is still uncertain how the team will perform moving forward.
Despite this, Argentina continue to be a dangerous team and beating them will be difficult for France. Considering Les Blues’ attacking issues earlier in the tournament, Didier Deschamps would be a fool not to consider any changes to his tactical system. So what are three possible changes that Deschamps could make to help increase the chances of a French victory?
#1 Drop Oliver Giroud and play Kylian Mbappe up front
Oliver Giroud has been unnecessarily belittled by football fans for a while now. The Frenchman is an excellent striker who has consistently contributed goals to his clubs and is one of the few French players to have matched this form for his country (having scored 31 goals). That said, Giroud should not be starting for this French team.
The Chelsea striker has struggled enormously in the tournament so far as he has had an average WhoScored player rating of 6.45 - the lowest for any French player to have played more than 90 minutes. Simply put, the Frenchman hasn’t been scoring goals and he brings very little to the table apart from that.
So far, Giroud has only averaged 0.7 successful dribbles per game while his average pass success percentage has been a lowly 65.9% (the lowest in the squad). While dropping Giroud for a few poor performances may be harsh, the attacking talent in the squad is simply too much for the team to be playing a (relatively) technically flawed player like Giroud up front.
Instead, Deschamps should try and unleash the full attacking potential of his squad. Mbappe was a natural striker at Monaco where he flourished. Moreover, Mbappe’s ability to drop back and create chances for his teammates would allow the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele to make runs behind the fragile Argentine defence. This move would also allow France to accommodate another player instead of Giroud.