FRANCE on paper qualified without any issues, but their performances have been very workmanlike, whilst Argentina needed a late goal against Nigeria to secure their Last 16 spot. Ross Casey (@RossCasey24) offers his World Cup betting advice for their clash in Nizhny Novgorod.
Argentina v France | Saturday 30th June 2018, 15:00 | BBC
This match is a very interesting one from a betting perspective as France are available at an odds-against price with Betway at 6/4. That makes them the favourites to beat Argentina – despite the fact they have never beaten them in four attempts and only scored once.
Argentina have been pretty shambolic at this tournament playing with no real cohesion, but the balance of the team in the 2-1 win against Nigeria looked much better with Javier Mascherano and Ever Banega in midfield. They are still the outsiders here though, with a best price of 129/50 with Marathon.
Argentina struggled to qualify for this World Cup and needed the brilliance of a Lionel Messi hat-trick to even reach Russia and that inconsistency has marred them again in the group stages.
They are here now though in the Last 16 and seem to have uncovered a system that gets the best out of the Barcelona man with Ever Banega the key to their play with his expert passing ability.
They still have question marks in defence however, even in victory over Nigeria, they were cut open multiple times only to be fortunate that Odion Ighalo showed poor composure in front of goal. They may not be so lucky against an impressive French attack.
France haven't exactly been on fire this tournament and yet they are unbeaten, conceding just one goal in the process. They played out an absolutely woeful 0-0 draw with Denmark in their last game – a result that suited both sides.
It has to be said that under Didier Deschamps, this talented squad have not been allowed to play with their shackles off as yet, and I expect that to not necessarily change here, however in a knockout situation, if they concede first they will have to play a more attacking and expansive style.
If they are going to win this one, they need to make history as they have lost all four previous fixtures against Argentina.
The betting angle
Both Teams To Score is my pick here – despite the fact this has landed just once in four meetings and the market suggests that both teams won't score. I am happy to go against the grain in this one.
Don't get me wrong this match will be full of nerves and both sides will be somewhat cagey, but a goal changes everything in these knockout games and if we get one early on, the losing side will know they have to score or they face elimination.
With France needeing the woodwork to save face against Peru and conceding against Australia, they haven't looked infallible at the back, whilst Argentina have the tendency to implode in defence, I like the odds of 11/10 that both teams score here.
Argentina v France – Both Teams To Score (11/10 William Hill)