ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / Getty Images
The first day of knockout football in Russia is upon us, as four heavyweights of the international game are in action. France's meeting with Argentina makes things start, while the meeting between Portugal and Uruguay thwarts the end of the day.
While so much is at stake for these teams, fans hope for the enterprising and positive football that played a role in this World Cup goes beyond the group stages. Read on for the details of the game, including the odds for the above teams, to enter the quarterfinals of the competition.
Saturday matches and odds
3 o'clock France (+137) ($ 100 win to win $ 137), Argentina (+258), Draw (+204)
19 o'clock-Uruguay (+192 ), Portugal (+181), draw (+201)
The illustrations are from OddsShark .
France – Argentina
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Despite being in group A of group C in group stage 16, the mood in the French national team is inconsistent on Saturday
The victories over Australia and Peru were more functional than fluent, while the 0: 0 between Les Bleus and Denmark will be a contender for the worst game of the tournament. Now it is Didier Deschamps's turn to bring this team into the knockout stages.
As the journalist Tom Williams noted, a boring group game has become a trend under the manager:
Tom Williams  @ tomwfootball
Under Didier Deschamps, France have 0 in all three group games at major tournaments : 0 won (0-0 against Ecuador at the 2014 World Cup, 0-0) v Switzerland at the EURO 2016, 0-0 against Denmark at the 2018 World Cup.
While they have so much attacking class in their squad, will the pragmatism in this game will be back on the agenda. This means that Blaise Matuidi will probably start from the left flank, while Olivier Giroud will again take the lead.
Argentina's way to the knockout stages was anything but straightforward as they recovered from a hammering through Croatia to beat Nigeria and scrape past. A masterful performance by Lionel Messi in the final game was crucial to the victory of the Albiceleste.
Ben Hayward of Goal praised the great man, though he thinks the French need further improvements:
Ben Hayward @ bghayward
Everyone will have their opinion on which is the best goal at this # WorldCup, but Messi's last night was wonderful, if not so much for the finish, but the two touches that preceded it. Technically and at this speed it is absolutely extraordinary.
France is better placed to cope with Messi while also having the quality in attack to exploit the holes in the Argentine defense. The Albiceleste No. 10 can turn them back on for his team, even if he can not prevent an exit from Argentina.
Prediction: France 2-1 Argentina
Uruguay vs. Portugal
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Given the defensive nature of these two teams, this encounter is unlikely to be the most open we see in the knockout rounds.
That will not be intriguing, as Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo will try to defend the best As mentioned below, Uruguay are the only team to concede a goal in the World Cup:
Galatasaray EN @ Galatasaray
Following on from today's # WorldCup results, Fernando Muslera the only goalkeeper who does not have yet to concede a goal in the tournament! ?? https://t.co/HfDHVBCTPF
The defensive robustness makes them a difficult team, with the Atletico Madrid Mating of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, which allows fitness, untamable in central defense. Then, ahead, players like Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani can be crucial in the final third.
Portugal's schedule focuses on similar moves as Uruguay, as coach Fernando Santos attaches great importance to a draw. However, there were times when the European champion in this World Cup was something in the background.
Nevertheless, as mentioned here by Jan Hagen, it has been a long time since anyone has won this outfit:
Jan Hagen @ PortuBall
The draw against Iran last night was that 17th game in a row without defeat at a tournament (Euro, World Cup, Confederations Cup), making it the longest European national team unbeaten tournament in history.
Spain had the old record of 16 unbeaten games. https://t.co/OQpTtFgjYz
This is unlikely to be a classic because neither side throws men forward in search of targets. Expect both teams to be careful, play straight, and hope that one of their key opponents can make something out of nowhere.
Based on what we have seen so far in Russia, Uruguay seems to be the more complete side and will settle late.
Prediction: Uruguay 1-0 Portugal