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29 Jun 2018

France vs Argentina: Key Battles

France vs Argentina: Key Battles

The first of the World Cup's knockout games will see a meeting between two footballing juggernauts.

REUTERS/Jorge Silva

France and Argentina are two of international football's most successful nations, but so far in this World Cup neither side has impressed.

Jorge Sampaoli's Argentina scraped through their group in second place, needing a late Marcos Rojo goal to beat Nigeria on Tuesday night. For a long time it seemed they would exit early, and few would have been surprised if they had.

Read RealSport's preview of France vs Argentina HERE.

But, for now, their elimination has been postponed. Argentina will not be the favourites against France, who navigated their group comfortably, albeit with a series of unspectacular, turgid performances.

Didier Deschamps' side won twice and drew their final game against Denmark, a strong contender for the worst match at this World Cup, or indeed any World Cup. Against Australia they were poor and fortunate to win and against Peru, France played predominantly on the back foot, and again did not convince.

This last-16 clash, then, could be decided on the basis of which team is least bad. And on who comes out on top in these key battles: