In Review

World Cup last 16: France vs. Argentina starting XIs, predictions, odds and TV channel

The opening match in the World Cup round of 16 could be a classic in Kazan

France vs. Argentina

  • When: Saturday 30 June 
  • Kick-off time: 3pm 
  • Where: Kazan Arena, Kazan 
  • TV channel: live on BBC One

The first match in the round of 16 will feature two of world football’s heavyweights as France take on Argentina in Kazan.

There’s no place in the Argentina starting line-up for Sergio Aguero or Gonzalo Higuain. Head coach Jorge Sampaoli has opted for Cristian Pavon and Angel Di Maria to support Lionel Messi in attack. The Daily Telegraph reports that Messi may play in a “false nine” position. 

A late goal allowed Argentina to squeeze into the knockout stages with a 2-1 victory against Nigeria, a game that also saw Messi finally hit form at the finals.

Messi scored his first goal of Russia 2018 in the win against Nigeria but amazingly he has never scored in the knockout stage of a World Cup. “Good or bad news for France? Only time will tell,” says Fifa.com reporter Adrien Gingold. 

France coach Didier Deschamps picks Olivier Giroud up front with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Blaise Matuidi in the three behind the lone striker. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and midfielder Paul Pogba return to the side and defender Samuel Umtiti is fit to start.

France vs. Argentina starting XIs
  • France: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Kante, Pogba; Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi; Giroud
  • Argentina: Armani, Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Mascherano, Enzo Perez, Banega; Pavon, Messi, Di Maria

France vs. Argentina predictions

Sports Illustrated: “France have to go in as favourites, despite Argentina’s very recent revival. They’ve looked stronger, more consistent, and more likely to get it done under pressure. If Argentina show up, and can get anything near the best out of Messi then they have a good chance, of course, but the balance of probabilities suggests France by a hair. Prediction: France 3-2 Argentina.”

The Daily Telegraph: “Neither side has particularly impressed in this tournament so far, trudging their way to the knockout rounds. Could go to extra time, with France’s attacking might finding the edge against Argentina’s shakey back line. Prediction: France 1 Argentina 0.”

Mark Lawrenson, BBC Sport: “Sooner or later, I think we are going to see the France players put in a big performance. If they produce it in Kazan, they will win. France 2 Argentina 1.”

France vs. Argentina betting odds

Best prices according to Oddschecker (as of 30 June).

  • France to win: 7/5 
  • Argentina to win: 5/2 
  • Draw: 2/1

First goalscorer

  • Lionel Messi (Argentina): 17/4 
  • Antoine Griezmann (France): 5/1 
  • Olivier Giroud (France): 6/1 
  • No goalscorer: 13/2 
  • Sergio Aguero (Argentina): 7/1
  • Kylian Mbappe (France): 7/1 
  • Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina): 7/1

World Cup round of 16 fixtures

  • 30 June: France vs. Argentina at Kazan Arena, Kazan; 3pm live on BBC
  • 30 June: Uruguay vs. Portugal at Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi; 7pm live on ITV 
  • 1 July: Spain vs. Russia at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow; 3pm live on BBC
  • 1 July: Croatia vs. Denmark at Nizhny Novgorod; 7pm live on ITV
  • 2 July: Brazil vs. Mexico at Samara; 3pm live on ITV
  • 2 July: Belgium vs. Japan at Rostov-on-Don; 7pm live on BBC
  • 3 July: Sweden vs. Switzerland at St Petersburg; 3pm live on BBC
  • 3 July: Colombia vs. England at Spartak Stadium, Moscow; 7pm live on ITV

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