The first game of Round of 16 at Russia was a 7 goal thriller and it was France who were heading into the next round of this tournament. Fans of both sides were in for a roller-coaster of emotions as both Argentina and France made sure that this was one of the games of the tournament. France took the lead thorough Griezmann’s penalty, Argentina levelled things up with a screamer from Di Maria and then took the lead from Mercado who deflected Messi’s shot on goal into the back of the net. Just when things looked Argentina are going to pull out a miracle again, Benjamin Pavard equalised for France with a wonder goal and Kylian Mbappe then took the game away from Argentina with his two goals and made sure that it was France who made their way into the Quarters. Although It looked like the game was over but Argentina gave it a dramatic ending when Messi played the ball into Sergio Aguero who headed home, but it was too little too late. Here are some important talking points of this game.
● Argentina Couldn’t Cope With Kylian Mbappe :
Kylian Mbappe was the man who stole the limelight and he was involved in three of the four goals scored by the French side. Although Mbappe was already a known man in the European Circuit but this was the game that made sure he announced himself in front of the world. Mbappe caused plenty of problems for this Argentine side and it was his run which made sure that he single-handedly won the penalty and France drew the first blood in this important fixture. He also scored two goals to take the game away from Argentina in the second half and both of them were excellent finishes.
● Screamers At Both Ends Of The Pitch :
Both these teams witnessed two absolute wonder goals by Angel Di Maria and Benjamin Pavard. Di Maria’s goal came out when Argentina were struggling to get themselves back into the game after falling behind, the PSG man picked the ball up from 30 yards out and rifled it into the top corner. Well, Di Maria’s goal was not enough to make the football fans happy so Benjamin Pavard weaved his magic for the French fans. The French man found himself on the edge of the box to an unattended cross from the left side and he made sure that he volleyed the ball across the keeper into the top corner outdoing Di Maria.
● Argentina Needs Change :
The most immediate change should be the sacking of Jorge Sampaoli and this entire squad needs regeneration. The total age of the three midfielders is 96 years which was one of the reasons why Argentina were not able to cope up with the likes of Mbappe, Pogba and Griezmann who were allowed to have freedom during the course of this game. There are lot more problems which needs to be fixed immediately in this Argentine Squad because they cannot really sit back and wait for another Messi or Maradona and hope that he just has enough power to fill gaps that this Argentine squad posseses and Argentina has to now figure out a life after and a life without the best player.
● This French Side Just Gets Better And Better :
France have been criticized a lot for their underwhelming wins in the group stages and by this win against Argentina, they have shown the shades of the France that everyone was expecting. Although people will be still reluctant to say that this France was at their absolute best last night. Mbappe rising to the occasion, Kante continues to amaze and it’s not only about covering entire ground,tackles and interceptions but also his reading of the game, passing and little things that keep a team ticking and if this French team goes deep in this tournament he will be one of the unsung heroes of this team and also Paul Pogba had his best game of this tournament so far which was mainly due to the freedom that Argentine midfield and no one in that midfield had legs to take him down. Giroud continues to look more confident in his position since has become number one in that No. 9 position of this French side which means that all parts of this French side are starting to come together.
● With Matuidi Suspended, Deschamps Has A Choice To Make :
France are currently catering to a 4-2-3-1 formation, allowing Griezmann to function behind Giroud and giving plenty of space on the right for Mbappe to weave his magic. Deschamps used Matuidi on the left as a box to box midfielder such that he was meticulous about his defensive duties. Now with Matuidi suspended for the next game Deschamps can either use Corentin Tolisso in a similar role or he can prefer Ousmane Dembele or Nabil Fekir to add more attacking thrust against a defensively compact Uruguayan side.