Manchester City pair set to miss France vs

Dean Simpson
June 30, 2018

"He is different with Argentina than with Barcelona", Umtiti said during the lead-up to the Round of 16 match, according to Reuters.

"Leo is completely committed to the team, first and foremost you see this on the pitch", the Argentina coach said. "We need to be outstanding to go ahead". "'Plan' is a big word, but of course we will try to limit his influence".

Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Benjamin Mendy, who will be in opposite camps, are set to miss out on the starting XIs when France face Argentina at the World Cup today. After their poor draw against World Cup debutants Iceland, Lionel Messi and Co were thrashed 3-0 by Croatia.

By contrast, France enjoyed serene if uninspiring progress to the last 16, finishing top of Group C with two wins and draw from their games. "They also have [Barcelona] team-mates whom I know well". He said: 'There is so much expectation around Messi, which I think is normal, but still I think the Argentina team has a lot to show.

Sampaoli was unstinting in his praise of Messi, describing him as "the best player in the world" and a "genius", but preferred to focus more on the display he expected from his whole team on Saturday. On both occasions, they reached the final, losing it in 1930 and winning in 1978.

Since then, France are unbeaten in eight World Cup fixtures against CONMEBOL opposition (W4 D4). The last time these two sides met was in 2009 in an worldwide friendly which Messi and co had won 2-0. The Barcelona star is heating up, scoring his first goal of the 2018 World Cup against Nigeria in his squad's last match.

France's team, whose average age is 25, will be looking to awake from their recent slumber and Sampaoli, whose side's average age is 30, underlined the danger of allowing the France to dictate play. Even though the numbers look quite solid (two wins in three matches and only goal conceded), the stats do not tell the whole story. On one hand, you have the French, boasting probably the most talented team in the tournament - a squad so deep that they had to leave out the likes of Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette.

This game sounds like an absolute cracker but, if I'm being honest, it's not really.

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