The first match in the round of 16 will feature two of world football’s heavyweights as France take on Argentina in Kazan.
France qualified after finishing first in group C and head coach Didier Deschamps, who made several changes for the final game against Denmark, is expected to revert to his strongest XI, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The Daily Star says that Deschamps could name a “frightening” 4-3-3 formation against Argentina with Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann supporting Olivier Giroud in attack. Ousmane Dembele is another option if Deschamps opts for a 4-2-3-1.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Paul Pogba are also set to start and Samuel Umtiti should be fit to play, Goal.com reports.
A late goal allowed Argentina to squeeze into the knockout stages with a 2-1 victory against Nigeria, a game that also saw Lionel 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.
Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli is expected to name the same team that beat Nigeria, but could bring Sergio Aguero back in to replace Gonzalo Higuain up front.
France vs. Argentina predicted starting XIs
How the teams could line up at the Kazan Arena, according to Fifa.com:
Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante; Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele; Olivier Giroud
Franco Armani; Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Tagliafico; Ever Banega, Javier Mascherano, Enzo Perez, Angel Di Maria; Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain
Group G : Sat 6/30,
30June : 2018
08:00 : Pm