Three Reasons Why France Should Beat Argentina In Their Round Of 16 Clash
The knockout phase of the World Cup starts with Argentina taking on France, in the first game of the Round of 16, with both teams looking to push through to the quarterfinals. This is one of the most highly anticipated games of the tournament so far and both teams will want to forget the group stages, start fresh and secure a win.
Though the fans of both teams will be hoping that their side can put in the best show and go through to the next round, the European side does seem to have a slight advantage over their rivals for this fixture. No, not based on head to head stats, where it is Argentina who had done better but based on current facts and overall form.
Here are three reasons why France should beat Argentina in their upcoming clash -
Unbeaten in the tournament so far-
Though they have not been the most convincing side in the tournament so far, it is still a fact that France has not lost a game yet. They had a couple of wins in the group stages beating Australia and Peru and eventually played out a goalless draw against Denmark. On the other hand, Argentina started off with a draw, a loss and eventually a win, which sent them through.
Clearly based on the level of performances that have been showcased by Didier Deschamps' side, they look the stronger side and are currently the favorites to win the match, though games are never won on paper.
In-form front-line and forwards-
The problem regarding Messi's form and whom to start alongside the Barcelona talisman have been troubling Sampaoli, who is still trying to figure out the right combination up front. Though the skipper did score in the final game of the group stages, there were no goals from Higuain or any of the other stars pushing forward. After using Aguero initially, this change in the playing eleven also turned out to be a total flop.
With respect to France, Deschamps has things rather sorted out with the likes of Griezmann, Mbappe and the others looking sharper than ever, with the young attacker scoring the winning goal against Peru.; Even Olivier Giroud looks more confident than the Argentine attack and is ready to have a go at the opponents if given the chance, which would really have the fans worried who can't see the same in the likes of Aguero, Higuain, and Dybala.
A consistent goalkeeper-
It is impossible to forget Willy Caballero's gift to Croatia, which nearly cost Sampaoli's side a spot in the round of 16. Though Argentina did get the crucial win over Nigeria and did manage to make it to the knockout stages, it was Franco Armani at goal and not the Manchester City man. Though he did not maintain a clean sheet and was unable to keep Moses out from the spot, he did just enough to help them win the game.
He might once again start the upcoming match against France, though this can be one reason for his team's downfall, as he is actually the third choice keeper, it can be said, behind Romero (injured) and Caballero.
On the other hand, France has Hugo Lloris, who is looking really positive in front of goal and will have much more confidence, as he is the first choice keeper for his team. Though he has conceded one goal in the opening game of their World Cup campaign, he has also kept a couple of clean sheets after that, which will be a major confidence booster for him and his defensive line.
The game against Nigeria has already highlighted the difference that a quality keeper can make and hopefully, Armani can rise up to the occasion when his team needs him the most.