Argentina and France to meet in a clash of underperforming titans

Dull Danes and flat French play out mutually beneficial 0-0 draw

Dull Danes and flat French play out mutually beneficial 0-0 draw

"If you've played against him already, you may be aware of some situations that repeat themselves".

Messi finally got off the mark in this year's World Cup with a glorious goal in the massive 2-1 win over Nigeria, ending 622 minutes of World Cup football without a goal and becoming the first player to score a World Cup goal in his teens, 20s and 30s. "They also have [Barcelona] team-mates whom I know well".

While France's setup appears to have struggled to get their best out a star-studded squad, Argentina nearly went off the rails entirely with reports that Messi and Javier Mascherano are calling the shots.

Either France's or Argentina's 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign will end in disappointment.

'They have had hard times and still have been able to qualify.

In addition, the playmaker has to cope with the expectations of his countrymen, who are banking him to come home with the World Cup, it is looking like his last opportunity to lay claim to the $20m worth trophy.

"We are preparing to play in a last-16 game against Argentina, so we have to be at our top level", he told reporters ahead of Saturday's match.

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Much has been made of Messi's influence on the Argentina side, but France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris rejected suggestions they were a one-man outfit.

"As we said, this is a new tournament that begins, and I think we have to depend on our collective strength, on a defensive solidity and we know our attacking potential", Lloris added.

Two of France's games during the current World Cup have seen under 2.5 goals scored.

Sergio Aguero led the line in the first two games, against Iceland and Croatia, before Gonzalo Higuain got the nod in the last group game as Argentina finally picked up three points. The last time these two sides met was in 2009 in an worldwide friendly which Messi and co had won 2-0.

This game sounds like an absolute cracker but, if I'm being honest, it's not really.

"I see him everyday".

The coach said France's characteristics of quick ball recovery and pace on the break through Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud would make them particularly unsafe if Argentina were unable to dominate possession. "France are a very good team with very good individual players". That win did not stop the criticism under Sampaoli, and now this will be the team's biggest challenge: to face a true contender, one filled with world-class players on both ends of the pitch.

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