Argentina vs. France odds, lines, expert picks, and insider predictions

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Argentina vs. France: Expert Predictions, Betting Odds, Preview for Round of 16 World Cup Match

"We are preparing to play in a last-16 game against Argentina, so we have to be at our top level", he told reporters ahead of Saturday's match.

Sampaoli, though, is focusing on ensuring Argentina are set up so "shining light" Messi can make the difference in Kazan.

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Aguero, meanwhile, will continue to pay for his dig at Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli by taking a spot on the substitutes bench again. Sampaoli came under huge fire after Argentina drew 1-1 with Iceland in their first match in Russian Federation and were thrashed 3-0 in their second by Croatia, all amid reports of unrest in their camp.

He also has to deal with the weight of a whole nation expecting him to win the World Cup in what is likely to be his last shot at the biggest trophy in football.

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Much has been made of Messi's influence on the Argentina side, but France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris rejected suggestions they were a one-man outfit. "Kylian has great quality and great potential - I think that he will get a bit more space against Argentina than he did in the group stage". On both cases, Argentina reached the Finals.

Argentina have defeated France in their two World Cup meetings (1930, 1-0; 1978, 2-1). Simply put, the Frenchman hasn't been scoring goals and he brings very little to the table apart from that. The last time these two sides met was in 2009 in an global friendly which Messi and co had won 2-0.

"Argentina called me to play for the team even though I wasn't starting for Benfica". On the performances so far these are the two sides I can't see winning it.

"But it's not how you characterised it, we had several options in attack and I was just communicating to him that we'd be using one of the strategies that we'd rehearsed".

The South Americans looked in real danger of crashing out at the group stage before a dramatic victory over Nigeria saw them through to the last 16 as runners-up behind Croatia. Argentina appears to have righted its ship and the experience its squad contains will carry it past the young, talented France squad. La Albiceleste has been under heavy scrutiny during the current World Cup campaign - and for good measure, considering how poor the team has been.

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