French defender Samuel Umtiti, a teammate of Lionel Messi in Barcelona, knows the danger that Argentina brings. (19659005) France vs. Argentina
Round of 16, Kazan Arena, Kazan
Neither team has made it, but both hope for Saturday in one of the big matches of the round of 16.
Argentina hobbled through the group stage defender Marcos Rojo scored only 86 minutes into the knockout stages to beat Nigeria. Striker star Lionel Messi said after the game that "during the group match he can not remember such suffering".
France came to the top of Group C with seven points, but was still criticized for forming. His final, a goalless draw with Denmark, which secured France's place at the top and the passage of the Danes, particularly annoyed the fans of Les Bleus. Samuel Umtiti, a French central defender, rejected the criticisms and assured everyone that France was all right and that the next opponent of the team would not matter because France would win under his conditions. But Umtiti, Messi's team-mate in Barcelona, said it was important to play Argentina.
"It's important to just get through," he said. "If we eliminate Brazil, Peru or Mexico, I do not care, but it is true that I would play such a great nation as Argentina … I would be proud to eliminate them."
The French know that Argentina with the closure of Messi, one of the most dangerous players in the world, who did not meet in the first game, put an end to two games before the match against Nigeria. His teammates know what's coming.
"He needs the support of his teammates, only then will he be able to play at his best," said Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli on Messi. "His human side is amazing, he is a person who feels who is crying, who suffers, who is happy when Argentina wins, I have seen him sad and I have seen him happy."
"The people said he does not like to play for Argentina. That is not true.
You want a clever analysis, opinions, guides and more from the World Cup? Sign up for our monthly newsletter every matchday until the last July 15
When: Saturday, 10 o'clock East.
As seen on TV: Fox.
How to Stream Online: Fox Sports and the Fox Soccer Match Pass Apps and FoxSportsGo.com
How to Spanish sees: Telemundo
As seen in Canada: Bell Media TSN and CTV networks, the TSN GO App and TSN.ca/live.
What's next: The Winner meets Uruguay Portugal winner in Nizhny Novgorod at 6 pm on July 6.
[Round of 16 analysis and predictions]
France (Group C winner)  Previous Results: Defeat Australia, 2-1. 1-0. Drew Denmark, 0: 0
Best World Cup place: Champion, 1998
Remarkable: France has not had Argentina since 1978 lost to a South American team. Since then it has been unbeaten in eight games (four wins, four draws)
FIFA World Ranking: 7th ELO World Rankings: 3rd
Argentina (second place in Group D)
- Previous results: Drew Island, 1 -1. Lost in Croatia, 3: 0. Defeat Nigeria, 2-1.
- Best World Cup place: Champion, 1978, 1986
- Remarkable: Argentina have scored twice in the World Cup and won both times. La Albiceleste's 1-0 win in 1930 and the 2-1 victory in 1978 preceded the final, where it lost for the first time and won the second.
- FIFA World Ranking: 5th ELO World Ranking: 11.
Players in Focus
France has still not found a comfortable solution to the problem that occurred on the eve of the World Cup, when it starred Dimitri Payet lost due to an Achilles tendon injury. The player looking for Les Bleus is the one who starts in front to replace him. France's coach, Didier Deschamps rotated through Thomas Lemar Blaise Matuidi and Ousmane Dembele during the group stage, but he was reportedly unimpressed by all. Deschamps must find a spark for an offensive that scored fewer goals per game in the group stage.
For Argentina, the simple answer is Messi but the true player who has to take care of Argentina is Javier Mascherano. The 34-year-old midfielder will probably take the responsibility to keep the French superstar Paul Pogba calm in this home game. The player seemed to be off-pace in this World Cup, especially against fast Nigeria, but he played like an unofficial coach and helped ease tension when Argentina seemed so unlikely. No matter how he plays, Mascherano will be an important factor on Saturday.
Read more about the World Cup
Do not blame Lionel Messi for Argentina's struggles. Kill the Coach
See World Cup fans: Argentine fan groups unite for the blue-and-white
World Cup fans: Russian football fans hope their country makes a good impression as host
Like a 70s British pop dud – about Texas! – was a European football anthem
Cristiano Ronaldo president? Donald Trump cracks that he would not win in Portugal.