Argentina squeezed through to the last 16 of the World Cup after some heroics from Lionel Messi and a wasteful Nigeria, and next up is a match that will show if they really have any kind of tournament-winning credentials.
France are yet to find top gear in Russia but they can count on a defence that has been tough to break down, something you can’t say for an Argentina outfit that has been all at sea in all three Group D games. France should have their sights set on at least a couple of goals, and are 17/10 with Coral to strike at least twice in Kazan on Saturday.
Antoine Griezmann is one of the only marquee strikers at this World Cup to disappoint so far, but if he plays in the number 10 role he should be able to cause havoc. With the old, slow Javier Mascherano sitting as the single-pivot in the Argentinian midfield, Griezmann should be able to create and space and occupy plenty of goal scoring positions against a defence that needs to keep an eye on French striker Olivier Giroud. This is Antoine’s time to shine, so stick a tenner on him to score anytime at 7/4 with William Hill. If you fancy Giroud’s physicality to cause problems and land himself with a goal then he is a touch higher at 2/1.
The penalties keep on flooding in, and we are averaging better than one penalty for every two World Cup games so far. It doesn’t take a trained monkey to figure out that 11/4 (Paddy Power) for a penalty to be awarded in this one represents value beyond what you would expect, given the current climate of VAR. A French penalty would be particularly handy for our Griezmann anytime bet…
I do think Argentina will breach the French defence, but it’s their inability to find Lionel Messi in dangerous positions quickly enough that will be the difference between being competitive and crashing out. Messi’s superb goal against Nigeria will have given him a huge boost, but France should be too strong in all areas of the pitch. Les Blues to win with both teams scoring looks very high indeed at 19/4 with William Hill.