France’s clash with Argentina was really quite a hard-fought showdown. Both teams were determined to prove they were worthy of moving onn. In the end, only one team could emerge victoriously. For Argentina, it’s the first time since 1994 that they’ve lost in the Round of 16.
Here are five takes from this great match:
1. Kylian Mbappé stole the show: Mbappé utilized his speed and unique ability to tear through the sloppy Argentinian defense. At one point in the game, he took the ball sprinted down the pitch and was fouled by defender Marcos Rojo in the penalty area. Mbappé did a good job of penetrating and frustrating the defenders. He was simply too much for Argentina’s defense as he punched two goals, becoming the youngest player to score two goals in a World Cup game since Pelé did it in 1958.
2. Argentina showed up as a team: Many believed that Argentina would not be able to play as a cohesive unit. It was worried that instead of France versus Argentina the game would be more like France versus Lionel Messi. However, Argentina actually stepped on the pitch and they were able to play as a team. Despite their best efforts to stay in the game, they had a chance to pull through, but were simply outplayed by France. Messi did provide an assist to a goal that was scored by Gabriel Mercado that gave Argentina a 2-1 lead, but Argentina did not have enough to out duel the French.
3. A French Defender jumped into the spotlight: In a span of about ten minutes, France went from having a 1-0 lead to trailing 2-1. It really looked as though the frustration and pressure was going to get the better of them and France was veering towards a heart-breaking elimination. All of a sudden, Benjamin Pavard, with an assist from fellow defender Lucas Hernandez via a cross, drilled the ball with a right-footed shot outside the box to level the score. Pavard brought his team back into the game and helped them regain confidence, as well as the most important key to victory: concentration.
4. France had an effective offensive tactic: In the group stage, France was only able to score three goals. They tried several offensive attack strategies but none of them seemed to be quite right. Coming into this game, French manager, Didier Deschamps knew he needed to come up with a strong and effective offensive attack system in order for his forwards to be able to score some goals. France knew that while Argentina’s defense was sloppy and ineffective, they had to be ready for anything and they needed a tactic that would actually work. Seems like France finally had the tactic they needed as they scored four goals, including two in a four-minute span.
5. France finally had some confidence: Despite winning their group, France didn’t have any confidence in their two wins against Peru and Australia due to the ineffective play. France could have easily taken care of Australia but as Australia challenged them, the frustration was killing off all of France’s confidence. The frustration intensified in France’s clash against Peru as Peru’s brutal defense really bruised up France’s attack. Upon knowledge that France was going to take on Argentina, France knew the time for negativity and frustration was up. France knew that if they did not get it together, they’d fall apart and be sent home in a humiliating fashion. France came in with much confidence and it truly paid off in their favor.
France is taking on Uruguay on Friday. France is looking to overcome their next big challenge. Uruguay knocked the of the European Champions and Uruguay is capable of inflicting enormous pressure and putting the game out of reach quickly. The French defense has some improvements to make. France needs to carefully study Uruguay and come up with some new and useful offense and defensive tactics.