World Cup Weekend – France v Argentina

Build up through Umtiti and Pogba has gone wider far more often than it does through Varane and Kante where it stays narrow.

Griezmann has struggled to have a positive impact. There has been no incisiveness in his passing yet, and penalty apart he’s struggled to get involved in front of goal in good areas:

In defence, France have been great at restricting the opposition’s chances. Les Bleus have conceded less xG from open play situations than any other team.

That said, France appear to have a problem down the right hand side according to pressure measures. Mbappe covering either right back option Pavard or Sidibe does not particulary have a good look.

Conversely, of the teams who qualified for the 2nd Round, Argentina were one of the least great sides for restricting opposition chances in open play.

The weakness is down the left hand side too, which bodes well for Mbappe.

The South American’s also have a goalkeeping issue with Caballero ranking as one of the worst keepers at the tournament so far, and back ups Armani and Guzman having very little international experience.

Up front, notwithstanding Messi’s woeful penalty, and brilliantly taken goal against Nigeria that anyone less human wouldn’t have made into a chance, the Barcelona man has struggled to get into good areas to shoot:

La Albiceleste have a major creativity problem. Put simply, Sampaoli must play Banega to link up with Messi according to my passing model.

Both sides have structural issues, but according to the numbers, France are fairly clear favourites. Once again, it’ll be up to Messi to do something about it.

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