The World Cup will reach the knockout stages on Saturday, as the first two last 16 games take place in Russia. Here are the games taking place in those first knockout games:
France v Argentina (Kick-off 3 PM)
Two of the giants of the world game meet in Kazan. The two teams enjoyed contrasting fortunes in the group stages. France picked up seven points from their three group games beating Peru and Australia and drawing with Denmark.
Les Bleus have not hit top form just yet, though. However, Didier Deschamps team have suffered only one defeat in their last 15 outings. Their recent games have been low-scoring, with under 2.5 goals scored in three of their previous four games.
Argentina came within minutes of missing out on the knockout stages. Only an 86th-minute winner in a 2-1 win over Nigeria in their group game against Nigeria saw them through to the last 16. A draw with Iceland was followed up with a 3-0 defeat by Croatia. La Albiceleste’s recent games have been high-scoring, with over 2.5 goals scored in five of their last six matches.
France victory and over 2.5 goals
Uruguay v Portugal (Kick-off 7 PM)
Uruguay topped Group A by winning all three of their games against Egypt, Saudi Arabia and hosts Russia last time out. La Celeste produced solid displays in their opening two games before capitalising on a man advantage against Russia to win 3-0.
Oscar Tabarez’s side is built on solid defensive foundations, as the South American team has kept six consecutive clean sheets. La Celeste have also recorded six straight defeats, and they will be tough opponents for anybody in Russia. Barcelona striker Luis Suarez will be looking to add to his two goals from the group stages.
Unlike their opponents, Portugal did not enjoy such a comfortable passage into the last 16, finishing second in Group B, having collected just five points. Fernando Santos’ side defeated Morocco 1-0, while also drawing against Spain and Iran.
The European champions were always the favourites alongside neighbours Spain to qualify from the group and did what they had to do. The Selecao heads into this clash having lost just one of their last 15 international matches. However, on the flipside, Santos’ team have won only two of their previous seven games.
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has netted four times at Russia 2018 and will be looking to mount a challenge for the Golden Boot.
Uruguay win and under 2.5 goals
Who will win Saturday’s crucial World Cup matches?