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World Cup 2018: 3 key battles that decided the game - France 4-3 Argentina

Shyam Kamal
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
990   //    30 Jun 2018, 22:34 IST

2018 FIFA World Cup Round of 16: France 4 - 3 Argentina
After a shaky group stage, France have finally roared in the tournament

Well, that must be the shortest fairy tale run in the history of all fairy tale runs! In a thrilling encounter that saw 7 goals being scored and 8 yellow cards being awarded, France held on to their nerves to move on to the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

After raising up people from the dead with fake promises of being good enough, the Albiceleste surrendered a 2-1 lead to lose out by a goal. The match saw two bangers being scored on either side of half-time, but in the end Argentina just did not have enough in their locker to pull off anything dramatic at the end.

As always, there were a few key battles that went a long way in deciding the final outcome of the game. Here's a look at 3 such battles.


#1 Lionel Messi vs N'Golo Kante

France v Argentina: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
What is a God to a non-believer?

Sampaoli (or whoever really was in-charge of the Argentinian team) decided to play Messi as a false nine for this game, resting both Aguero and Higuain - and I have to say, it didn't pay off as good as it should have on paper.

Sure, Messi might have gotten 2 assists to his name but he was wasted as a false nine, instead of the number 10 role that he usually plays. Very often, Messi had to drop deep to help out in the midfield, leaving the attack empty.

Most of the time it looked like Argentina had no reason to play him as the false nine, when they had two perfectly capable strikers on the bench. It was an experiment that shouldn't have been attempted at such a big stage.

Kante was his usual energetic self, but there was not a lot he could stop with regard to any of the three goals. He put in a few valuable tackles (3 on the night), but because of France trying to take the game to Argentina, it was not one of his more prominent performances.

This marks the end of Messi's WC dream, as we do not know if he will play the next one. Messi was on and off through the tournament, and now it is time for him to permanently be forgotten in this edition.

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Shyam Kamal
ANALYST
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