Argentina take on France in what promises to be a blockbuster Round of 16 tie of Fifa World Cup 2018 at the Kazan Arena, Kazan on Saturday, June 30.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
The first of the eight Round of 16 matches will start at 5 pm local time, 7: 30 pm IST and 3 pm BST.
Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 3 and Sony ESPN will provide live television coverage of the match in India. The live stream will be available on Sony Liv.
What to expect from the first Round of 16 tie
France were considered pre-tournament favourites but their performances, despite topping Group C, haven't inspired confidence.
Didier Deschamps' men had a trouble-free passage to the knockout stage of the tournament as they sealed seven points from three games to finish comfortably ahead of group runners-up Denmark. However, lack of goals has been a cause for concern for the Euro 2016 finalists.
Despite possessing one of the most fearsome frontline, consisting the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, and Olivier Giroud, the Les Blues scored only three goals, out of which one was from the spot and another an own goal, in the round robin stage.
France haven't scored a goal since Mbappe scored the only goal in the first half of their encounter against Peru on Thursday, June 21.
Deschamps hopeful of progress despite impending tough test
Nonetheless, Deschamps is hopeful of a starting afresh again but acknowledges the uphill task his team will be facing on Saturday in Kazan.
"A whole new competition begins now, direct elimination. We got what we wanted. Now the mountain looms up in front of us but we're there and we're aiming to get through to the next round after that," Deschamps said.
France will be hoping Paul Pogba steps up and delivers for the team while holding midfielder Ngolo Kante's role will be crucial, considering the attacking threat of the opposition.
Can Lionel Messi deliver on the big day?
Meanwhile, Argentina will be hoping to put behind the tumultuous group stage campaign and raise their standards against a quality opposition.
The Albiceleste camp was in turmoil after their crushing 3-0 defeat to Croatia in the group stage but they found an unlikely hero in Marcos Rojo who scored a late winner against Nigeria on Tuesday, June 26 to help them seal a spot in the knockout stages.
Speculations were rife that Jorge Sampaoli had lost the dressing room after the humbling against Luka Modric's men but Argentina managed to scrape through and live to fight another day.
All eyes will be on Lionel Messi after the Barcelona superstar opened his World Cup 2018 account against Nigeria. After having a poor start to the campaign — a missed penalty in their 1-1 draw against Iceland, the celebrated footballer came under a lot of criticism.
With the burden of expectations resting heavily on his shoulders, Messi will be keen on putting up another good show in Kazan. Ever Banega's addition should help the 2014 runners-up, given he was brilliant during their 2-1 win over Nigeria.
Can France's La Liga trio trouble Messi?
Deschamps though hopes his La Liga trio of Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane and Lucas Hernandez will help France keep Messi quiet on the big day.
"I'm not sure it's an advantage but it's not a disadvantage. If you've played against him already, you may be aware of some situations that repeat themselves," the French tactician said, as quoted by The Guardian.
Both teams haven't managed to hit peak form yet but if they buckle up on the big day, neutrals are in for a treat.
France vs Argentina: Team news and probable playing XI
Fifa World Cup 2018: Round of 16 TV listings and live stream information
- US: Fox Sports, fubo TV; Live stream: Fox Sports GO
- UK: ITV, Live stream: The ITV Hub
- UAE: beIN MAX 3; Live stream: beIN Sports Connect
- Argentina: Canal 7, TyC Sports, DIRECTV Sports; Live stream: DIRECTV Play
- Australia: Optus Sport, SBS
- Bangladesh: PTV Sports, Sony ESPN
- Brazil: SporTV, Globo, Fox Sports 1 Brasil
- France: TF1, beIN Sports 1; Live stream: beIN Sports Connect