Welcome to News Nation live coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2018. The round of 16 starts from Saturday and in the first battle of the day, Argentina lock horns with France in a battle of footballing giants at the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia.
In a game that both of these heavyweights perhaps wouldn’t have wanted, France face Argentina in the round-of-16 in Kazan to kickoff the knockout phase of the 2018 World Cup (WC).
After winning their first two group games by single-goal margins, France were able to coast in their final game against Denmark (0-0) having already qualified.That draw last time out was ‘Les Blues’ seventh game overall unbeaten (W5, D2), part of a broader run of one defeat in 15 (W10, D4, L1).
Whereas, Argentina were made to sweat to get to this stage. After a draw and a loss, Argentina were made to wait until an 86th minute winner against Nigeria (2-1) in their final group game to book their progression.
The struggle Argentina faced in their group is indicative of their recent form which has seen them win just three of their last seven (W3, D1, L3) and concede 15 goals!
Highlights of France vs Argentina:
# After a nail-biting France 4-3 Argentina, we now turn towards second game of the day. URUGUAY VS PORTUGAL. Catch all the live action here: FIFA World Cup 2018 Live Score, Uruguay vs Portugal
# The referee blows his whistle for the final time to end this match. Phew! What a match! Breathtaking.
# 90+3' Olivier Giroud (France) is cautioned by the referee.
# 90+3' Nicolas Otamendi (Argentina) will miss the next game because of that yellow card.
# 90+2' Goal! Sergio Aguero (Argentina) makes the score 4:3 after burying a close-range header in the left side of the goal after a good run and cross by Lionel Messi.
# 4 additional min. will be played.
# 90' The game is interrupted as Angel Di Maria (Argentina) is flagged offside.
# 90' Angel Di Maria (Argentina) takes the corner but it's cleared.
# 90' Angel Di Maria (Argentina) produces an inaccurate low pass into the box that is blocked by the one of the defenders. If this pass had slipped through, the ball would have probably ended up in the back of the net. The linesman makes the right call and Argentina will have a corner.
# 87' The referee stops play so that a substitution can be made and Kylian Mbappe trots off the pitch and is replaced by Florian Thauvin (France).
# 87' A cross is clipped into the penalty area by Angel Di Maria (Argentina) but poses no threat.
# 85' Sergio Aguero (Argentina) received a pass inside the box and sent a dangerous shot in on goal, but keep the champagne on ice as one of the defenders stepped in and blocked the effort. It's hard to say whether the keeper would have stopped it.
# 84' CHANCE! Lionel Messi (Argentina) swept past a couple of defenders inside the box and tried to score low in the middle of the goal, but great anticipation by Hugo Lloris allowed him to make a comfortable save.
# 83' The referee signals a substitution. Nabil Fekir (France) is brought on as a substitute for Antoine Griezmann.
# 83' Angel Di Maria (Argentina) produces a dangerous lofted cross into the box which is intercepted.
# 82' Argentina are desperately trying to attack but no clear cut chances for them since the last goal.
# 78' A crossfield pass from Nicolas Otamendi (Argentina) fails to find any of his teammates.
# 78' The attendance is 42873.
# 76' Javier Mascherano (Argentina) escapes without any punishment from the referee after using excessive force to foul his opponent.
# 75' It is time for a substitution. Corentin Tolisso (France) is on for Blaise Matuidi.
# 74' Jorge Sampaoli has decided to substitute Cristian Pavon and he is replaced by Maximiliano Meza (Argentina).
# Let us know your thoughts on the match using #NNWorldCup on Twitter and we will feature the best of the tweets here!
# Chelsea rooting in for Kante:
# 73' Today's referee Alireza Faghani rightly decides to book Benjamin Pavard (France) for his harsh tackle.
# 71' Blaise Matuidi (France) gets a yellow card and will miss the next game.
# 70' Close! Olivier Giroud (France) picks up the ball in space and from inside the penalty area sends a shot inches wide of the left post.
# 68' GOAL! Fantastic team goal! Kylian Mbappe (France) was set free in the area by Olivier Giroud and made no mistake with a lovely finish into the left side of the net. 4:2.
# 65' The manager has decided to make a substitution and Enzo Perez walks off the pitch to be replaced by Sergio Aguero (Argentina).
# 64' GOAL! The attempt by Blaise Matuidi is blocked, but from inside of the box Kylian Mbappe (France) hits the rebound into the back of the net. He alters the score to 3:2.
# 63' Alireza Faghani blows his whistle and it's Gabriel Mercado (Argentina) who is penalised for an offensive foul. Good decision by the referee.
# Here is Benjamin Pavard's stunning equaliser:
# 61' Blaise Matuidi (France) makes a bad challenge and the referee blows his whistle for a foul.
# 59' Angel Di Maria (Argentina) passes the ball from the edge of the box in order to find his teammate, who is in a good scoring position, but the defender blocks the pass and spanks the ball to safety.
# 57' GOAL! Lucas tees up Benjamin Pavard (France) on the edge of the box and he fires the ball into the left side of the goal. 2:2.
# 55' Enzo Perez (Argentina) tries to find the head of a teammate in the box but overhits the cross.
# 53' Antoine Griezmann (France) commits a rough challenge and Alireza Faghani blows his whistle for a foul.
# Here is the Argentina's second goal:
# 49' Alireza Faghani shows the yellow card to Ever Banega (Argentina) for a heavy challenge and he will miss the next game.
# 47' GOAL! Lionel Messi takes aim and his effort deflects off Gabriel Mercado (Argentina) to beat the goalkeeper. 1:2.
# 47' Foul! Benjamin Pavard (France) is penalised for pulling back his opponent. Argentina are awarded the free kick.
# Marcos Rojo goes off the pitch and Federico Fazio (Argentina) comes on.
# Second half begins!
# Players are back on the pitch and second half is about to begin!
Key stats:— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 30, 2018
👉 #FRA have won each of their last six #WorldCup knockout matches in which they scored the opener
👉 Ángel Di María scores his second World Cup goal, after netting in the 118th minute in #ARG 1-0 win against #SUI#FRAARG pic.twitter.com/w1yG6pBSze
# The end of the first half. What a half of football! Probably the best till now! Join us for the second half and Let us know your thoughts on the match using #NNWorldCup on Twitter and we will feature the best of the tweets here!
# The fourth official shows 2 min. of added time
# 45' Paul Pogba (France) makes a rough challenge and Alireza Faghani blows his whistle for a foul.
# 44' Javier Mascherano (Argentina) will miss the next game because of that yellow card.
# 42' GOAL! Cristian Pavon slides a pass towards Angel Di Maria (Argentina) who unleashes a fabulous shot from long range. The ball goes behind the surprised goalkeeper and into the right side of the goal. The score is now 1:1.
# 41' Lionel Messi (Argentina) puts a cross into the box from the corner but there is no panic from the opposition and they easily clear.
# 40' Lionel Messi (Argentina) goes on a solo run, but he fails to create a chance as an opposition player blocks him. Now Argentina have a corner.
# 38' Cristian Pavon (Argentina) sees an unmarked teammate and attempts to send him a low pass. However, one of the defenders reads the game perfectly and averts the danger.
# 38' Cristian Pavon (Argentina) sends a cross into the box, but Hugo Lloris comes off his line to gather the ball.
# 37' Olivier Giroud (France) seems to be alright and is okay to carry on.
# 35' Olivier Giroud (France) is writhing in pain and can now receive medical treatment after the referee signals for the physio to come onto the pitch.
# 33' Blaise Matuidi (France) races towards goal but the defender gets back well to make a challenge.
# 30' Kylian Mbappe (France) looks to break free, but an opposing player clears the ball away.
# 30' Nicolas Otamendi (Argentina) delivers a crossfield pass, but the ball is cut out before it reaches its intended target.
# 29' Possession stats: Argentina 24-76 France!
# 27' Gabriel Mercado (Argentina) sends in a pass which fails to reach any of his teammates.
# 26' Half-chance! Antoine Griezmann (France) plays a pass into the box, but Franco Armani reacts well to snuff out the attack.
# 24' Enzo Perez (Argentina) attempted to pick out a free teammate inside the box, but Hugo Lloris comes off the line to clear the ball away.
# 22' The corner kick from Ever Banega (Argentina) is headed out of the penalty area by one of the defenders.
# 22' Ever Banega (Argentina) unleashes a bullet of a shot that is blocked by a defender. The referee and his assistant both point at the corner flag. Argentina will have an opportunity to threaten the opposition's goal.
# Let us know your thoughts on the match using #NNWorldCup on Twitter and we will feature the best of the tweets here!
# 21' Paul Pogba (France) fires the ball from the free kick just outside the box, but he misdirects his shot high over the bar
# 19' France will look to take advantage of a free kick in a promising position in the middle of the field.
# 19' The referee demonstrates he won't tolerate this behaviour. Nicolas Tagliafico (Argentina) is given a yellow card.
# 18' Cristian Pavon (Argentina) tries to send the ball in front of the goal, but the opposition's defence averts the threat. The ball goes out of play. Argentina are awarded a corner kick.
# 17' The resulting corner from Angel Di Maria (Argentina) is cleared by the opposition's defence.
# 16' The ball is cleared after Nicolas Tagliafico (Argentina) attempted to dribble past an opposing player. Argentina will take a corner kick.
# 16' Kylian Mbappe (France) has picked up a minor injury, but it looks like he will be able to continue.
# Here is what one of our readers has to say about the match:
Things are heating up in Russia as round of 16 gets under way ... France has the capability to topple Argentina !! Looking forward for an exciting match!! Go France !!#NNWorldCup— Arnab Mukherjee (@ArnabMu72704073) June 30, 2018
# 13' GOAL! Antoine Griezmann (France) makes no mistake from the penalty spot after waiting for Franco Armani to move before rolling the ball into the middle of the goal!
# 13' Antoine Griezmann (France) is heading towards the penalty spot to take it.
# 11' Marcos Rojo (Argentina) earns the yellow card.
# 11' Marcos Rojo (Argentina) is penalised for holding. Alireza Faghani signals a set piece. The referee gives a penalty kick to France!!
# 9' POST! Antoine Griezmann (France) takes a mid-range free kick and his stunning strike crashes against the crossbar.
# 7' Javier Mascherano (Argentina) deprives his opponent of the ball, but the referee blows his whistle for a foul. He's not happy with the decision! France have a free kick from a promising distance.
# 6' Argentina enjoying the possession now, passing among themselves.
# 5' A cross by Angel Di Maria (Argentina) from the side of the pitch flies into the box, but fails to find its intended target as the aim was poor.
# 3' Blaise Matuidi (France) trips an opponent with a slide tackle. Alireza Faghani stops the game and he could give him a card, but eventually decides on just a warning.
# 2' Paul Pogba (France) gives away a foul for a clumsy challenge. Referee Alireza Faghani saw the whole situation.
# 1' Olivier Giroud (France) commits a foul during an attacking move.
# KICK OFF!
# Alireza Faghani got the nomination for today's game and will try his best to be a fair judge and not make any mistakes.
# We are moments away from Kick off!
# Players are out on the pitch and the National Anthems of both the teams will be played now!
At the end of the group stages, we’ve got 48 original drawings lining the walls of the Living Room.— FIFA Museum (@FIFAMuseum) June 29, 2018
Something tells us that our artist in residence might have enjoyed drawing this one the most though 🤔🇦🇷
Come along to see how the rest of the #WorldCup pans out on paper… pic.twitter.com/uOPn33PNnr
# Kick off is nearing! Let us know whom are you supporting using #NNWorldCup on Twitter and we will feature the best of the tweets here!
# France have never lost their fourth game at a WC finals (six games).
# Only two of the ten H2H games have seen both teams score.
# Both the teams have met just twice with Argentina winning both (1930, 1978). Overall the sides have met ten times, with Argentina registering six wins to one with three 0-0 draws.
# Argentina’s last five victories (in 90 minutes) at WC finals have been by just one goal.
# Five of France’s last six games at WC finals have seen just one side score.
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 30, 2018
# Stat attack: Both sides haven’t been losing at half-time in this tournament.
# Players to watch: Lionel Messi's goal against Nigeria ended 662 minutes without a World Cup finals goal - will that spark an avalanche? Whereas, Antoine Griezmann (FRA) has just one goal this WC and is surely capable of better.
# France XI vs. Argentina(4-2-3-1): Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, L.Hernández; Kanté, Pogba; Mbappé, Griezmann, Matuidi; Giroud.
# Argentina XI vs. France (4-3-3): Armani; Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Enzo Pérez, Mascherano, Banega; Pavón, Messi, Di María
After their win over #NGA, have #ARG turned a corner?@FIFAWorldCupARG looks at the lessons La Albiceleste learned & how they might be applied for #FRAARG— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 30, 2018
👉 https://t.co/6OtRcg3AaZ pic.twitter.com/E2bD7wEDIs