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France vs Argentina: Drama, Stellar Talent and Neurosis!


France vs Argentina: Drama, Stellar Talent and Neurosis!

France vs Argentina

Two of the World Cup’s biggest names meet at the Kazan Arena on Saturday in what promises to be an epic clash; the prize…a quarter-final place.

France vs Argentina is a fixture to really capture the imagination. We are going to see, without doubt, some of the greatest talent on the planet. But we’ll also be watching two of the nations most prone to navel-gazing, with a neurotic tendency to agonize over the performance of their best players.

They expect so much out of these two teams. And why shouldn’t they, being both past champions, higher statesmen of world football and with Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in their ranks?

But expectation weighs so heavily. The weight on Messi’s shoulders is enough to sink a battleship, and France struggle to understand why lesser teams won’t just fall over and concede in admiration. Surely Messi can carry Argentina to glory, and surely Les Bleus can rise to their potential and sweep away all before them.

Well, they can’t both succeed. And that is what makes this clash unmissable.

Before we get into considering the France vs Argentina predictions, let’s take a quick look at the big characters who could decide this game.

Talking Points

Didier Deschamps’ France undoubtedly have the riches of talent to take them all the way, but the big question is: do they have the stomach? If you wanted to buy Les Bleus’ young strikers Kylian M’Bappe and Ousmane Dembele alongside Griezmann, you wouldn’t get any change out of half a billion pounds! Just think about that.

Add in the likes of Paul Pogba, and defender Samuel Umtiti, the figures become truly eye-watering.

Griezmann isn’t for sale though; he’s settled his future with Atletico Madrid and so has no distractions. This is the perfect stage for him to show what he can do. He needs to step up because M’Bappe looked the most likely to score against Denmark, and Nabil Fekir did himself no harm at all with a lively cameo.

Argentina’s defence has looked at sixes and sevens at times that even the experienced Javier Mascherano making a dreadful hash at defending to hand Nigeria a goal. They need to be at the top of their game to stop the French advance.

Samuel Umtiti is a rock at the heart of France’s defence, but even he has a mistake in him, handballing under absolutely no pressure to gift Australia a penalty in their opening fixture.

I reckon we’ll see goals.

In Argentina’s attack, it isn’t all about Leo. Premier League fans know Sergio Aguero has been the best striker in their league in recent years, and Juve’s Gonzalo Higuain is a match-winner of great repute in Serie A.

But it took a defender to save them from an early exit. There were just four minutes left on the clock when Marcos Rojo’s stunning volley rekindled Argentina’s World Cup hopes.

With legend Diego Maradona kicking every ball in the stands, there will be no lack of passion.

The million dollar question is…who can hold their nerve?

History

Argentina’s golden period was over three decades ago, but they’ve always been a strong presence. They were champions in 1978 and 1986, quarter-finalists in 2006 and 2010 and then runners-up at Brazil 2014.

Les Bleus were Champions on home soil with their team of superstars including Zinedine Zidane and current boss Deschamps, and they reached the quarter-finals in Brazil.

Previous France vs Argentina results tells an encouraging story for Jorge Sampaoli’s men, as Argentina won the four clashes between these two, scoring six and conceding only one. Messi was on the mark in the last meeting back in 2009.

But of course, Didier Deschamps will tell his players that’s a long time ago.

What are the odds?

So let’s take a look at the SBOBET odds to see what we can work out.

It’s a game where all three 90 minute results are very possible; France are favourites at 2.35, while Argentina are 3.15 and the draw at 3.10.

It could take a while for this game to open up and so a half-time stalemate at odds of 1.91 wouldn’t be a big surprise.

Argentina’s three games have yielded eight goals, and we saw four goals in France’s first two. I think we should ignore the goalless bore-fest Les Bleus played out with Denmark in their own version of walking football! Nevertheless, the odds on under 2.00 goals are 1.94, while over 2.00 is at 1.96, and that looks like good value to me.

The most likely result is a 1-1 at odds of 5.40, but if you think France can edge it in a thriller, then how about 2-1 at a price of 8.75?

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

 

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Stuart Wilkin
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