As usual Argentina was a popular choice to win the World Cup as action began in Russia. This is as much about their star player Lionel Messi as for anything else. Truth be told La Albiceleste had a terrible qualifying run and were often exposed as a one man team. Yet as is often the case hype and symbolism triumph reality and the public flocked to the Argentine squad. It proved to be the ultimate name brand overlay.
For France they did win their group but it was more about being the best of what turned out to be an uninspiring and mediocre group. While touted as a top tier chalk the French were underwhelming. And have not had anything close to the look of a champion. France and Argentina now meet in a win or go home knockout round opener.
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2018 FIFA World Cup France vs. Argentina
Date and Time: Saturday, June 30, 2018, 10 a.m. ET
Location: Kazan Arena, Kazan
World Cup Betting Online Odds at BetCris: Argentina +241, France +138, Draw +206, Over Under 2 ½ Even
France vs. Argentina TV Coverage: FOX
France is a 17/2 choice to win the World Cup. Argentina is a 19/2 pick to win the tournament.
Blues for Les Bleus
France opened Group C action with a 2-1 win over an Australia team that always brings a full effort though not much in the way of talent or ability. It took a goal at the 81 minute mark by Aziz Behich to escape the embarrassment of a draw with an outmanned opponent. In their next match against Peru the French got by with a 1-0 win. Peru was undeniably difficult to play against due to their unique style of short passes and ball possession. In their third match France played a 0-0 draw against Denmark. The game was a cure for insomnia. Both teams had already clinched qualification and mailed it in. The match had the feel of a friendly and was an embarrassment. Fans should have gotten their money back.
Deschamps Squad looks not like Champs
France has slumped ever since blowing the 2016 Euro final at home against Portugal. They have let down punters time and again. Sharps said 2022 may be the year of the French. While everyone acknowledges France’s talent their youthful team continues to lack focus and polish. Coach Didier Deschamps is yet to get their minds right.
Argentina was served notice in their opener that they may be in trouble. A 1-1 draw against a defensive oriented Iceland team was a portent of things to come. But in their second group stage match with Croatia, La Albiceleste was exposed for all of their weaknesses. Croatia decimated Argentina 3-0 and it was no accident. Lionel Messi was completely neutralized. And Luka Modric emerged on the world stage as a superstar in his own right. In a must win third match with Nigeria the Argentines prevailed 2-1. Messi scored the first goal of the game with Marcos Rojo getting the game winner at the 86 minute mark.
Messi vs. Griezmann
This knockout stage match between France and Argentina is as much about the two stars than the teams. Lionel Messi is mentioned with Ronaldo as the greatest player in the world. France’s Antoine Griezmann is emblembatic of their youthful ability. But Messi is the proven commodity here. When it mattered most against Nigeria he delivered. This is likely his last World Cup. With all of their flaws Argentina has a motivational edge after escaping death against the Nigerians.
France vs. Argentina Free Picks
France has not proven trustworthy since their epic 2016 Euro failure. Argentina lived to fight another day. And that day is now. Look for Messi to establish his credentials as the ultimate impact player.
France vs. Argentina Pick: Bet the money line on Argentina
France vs. Argentina Score Prediction: Argentina 2, France 0
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