France attain final 16, Messi and Argentina bounce again: World Cup every day


The Saturday World Cup motion noticed our first staff e book their place within the spherical of 16, whereas one of many match’s GOATs returned to successful methods. A Kylian Mbappe brace noticed France beat an impressed Denmark facet and within the course of advance to the knockout spherical.

Within the last match of the day, Argentina bounced again from their shock defeat to Saudi Arabia. Lionel Messi scored the eventual match winner in a 2-0 victory over Mexico, a outcome that sees the Albiceleste climb to second in Group C.

Make sure to examine in with ESPN all through the match as we convey you the newest from Qatar. This is what you may need missed from the Saturday World Cup happenings, and a sit up for what’s subsequent on Sunday.

France and Denmark have squared off twice prior to now six months. And twice, the Danes have emerged victorious, securing Nations League wins by scores of 2-0 and 2-1. Not that Les Bleus wanted any extra motivation to win their Group D contest, however these two defeats certain added some gas to the fireplace.

The likes of Antoine Griezmann and Aurelien Tchouameni spoke of France’s latest losses, and the way the staff spoke forward of the Saturday match about this time being completely different, and it was. Kylian Mbappe scored twice, Griezmann starred in midfield and the partnership of Raphael Varane and Dayot Upamecano in central defence appeared imperious. Denmark by no means made it straightforward, however there was an air of inevitability about this France staff.

The reward for Didier Deschamps’ staff? A spot within the spherical of 16, the primary facet on this version of the World Cup to achieve the knockout stage.

That is not the tip of Denmark, although — not but anyway. They will tackle Australia on Wednesday, and assuming that France win or draw in opposition to Thirtieth-ranked Tunisia, a victory over the Socceroos will take them via to the spherical of 16.

Messi, Argentina bounce again vs. Mexico

Has there been an even bigger upset on this World Cup than Saudi Arabia beating Argentina of their Group C opener final week? It was the type of outcome that appeared ominous, casting a shadow over what’s the last look on this competitors for one of many recreation’s all-time greats in Messi.

With Poland having overwhelmed Saudi earlier Saturday, Argentina had been on the foot of the desk at zero factors. Something in need of victory would’ve left the Albiceleste with a mountain to climb in opposition to Robert Lewandowski & Co. on the group’s last matchday.

And three factors is precisely what Argentina received from El Tri. Whereas Mexico‘s tactical tweak failed to really stifle Lionel Scaloni’s facet, they did look in need of concepts for a lot of the 90 minutes, in the end counting on the person brilliance of Messi — once more.

It is a outcome that serves as a lifeline for Argentina, who at the moment are second in Group C. Their future is of their palms, with a win over Poland of their last match of the group stage securing them a spot within the spherical of 16 — they’re going to need assistance from elsewhere in the event that they’re held to a draw, and a defeat would make the uplifting win Saturday meaningless as a gaggle stage exit can be confirmed.

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Your finest bets (odds by way of Caesars Sportsbook)

For those who’re seeking to guess on the World Cup, ESPN contributors Paul Carr, Dan Thomas and Dalen Cuff are right here to provide you key ideas on odds, choices and futures. This is what now we have for the Sunday matches.

Japan vs. Costa Rica (Japan -220, Draw +300, Costa Rica +700)

Thomas: Japan appeared so good within the second half in opposition to Germany; in distinction Costa Rica seem like the worst staff within the match. Japan will win this comfortably. I am going to take complete staff targets over 2.5 +220.

Cuff: I used to be huge on Japan pre-tournament to get out of this group they usually delivered in opposition to Germany. They confirmed their high quality and athleticism whereas dominating the second half. I do not assume Costa Rica had been as horrific as they appeared in opposition to Spain, however I battle to see how they are going to generate many high quality scoring possibilities. Japan to win to nil +115.

Carr: Agreed on Dalen’s win to nil decide. Japan are a legit staff, with the physicality to deal with no matter CONCACAF-ness Costa Rica would possibly throw at them. In contrast to the Spain recreation, the Ticos ought to get a shot in opposition to Japan, however not a lot else. Do not overthink this one.

Belgium vs. Morocco (Belgium -108, Draw +235, Morocco +310)

Thomas: Belgium had been lucky to get the win in opposition to Canada however you possibly can’t think about them to place in one other lackluster efficiency. I do not assume there can be many targets. Belgium 1-0 +600.

Cuff: Belgium had been dominated by Canada, conceded 20 pictures and one way or the other not solely received however stored a clear sheet. Their attacking expertise continues to be evident regardless of Romelu Lukaku‘s damage. Nonetheless that was not a deserved three factors. Morocco have nice tempo on the wings and skill to play in transition like Canada will yield alternatives. Each groups to attain -115.

Carr: Kevin De Bruyne mentioned Belgium are too previous to win the World Cup, and he is proper. The growing older protection was on show in opposition to Canada, which had 1.8 anticipated targets with out counting the penalty. Morocco ought to be capable of exploit the again line too, with the tempo of Hakim Ziyech, Achraf Hakimi and Noussair Mazraoui. I am going to take Morocco +0.5 at -125.

Croatia vs. Canada (Croatia +107, Draw +235, Canada +260)

Thomas: That is robust to name given with what we noticed from each side within the opening recreation. I am taking the draw right here +235.

Cuff: Canada had been nice of their opener, no staff was extra spectacular, and got here away with nothing within the first spherical of video games. They confirmed no worry and dominated Belgium. Croatia have expertise and a few new blood within the squad however I feel the Canadians put collectively one other efficiency and I am enjoying them to win outright +260.

Spain vs. Germany (Spain +135, Draw +245, Germany +190)

Thomas: Right here we go, then, what a match this ought to be. Germany must go for it after that defeat vs. Japan. I am anticipating targets and plenty of them. Over 3.5 +190.

Cuff: Two giants of world soccer and in fully completely different positions within the group. Spain smashed Costa Rica 7-0 whereas Germany’s loss to Japan means they have every little thing to play for. A loss might get rid of the Germans earlier than the ultimate group recreation. I like Dan’s play above with over 3.5 targets however I feel this ends in a draw +245.

Carr: This recreation has to have targets in it. Spain play a way more open type than the earlier technology’s tiki-taka. Germany have loads of top-class attackers and loads of questions on the again, each of which had been on show within the opener, when Germany had 3.1 anticipated targets and conceded 1.5. I am on over 3.5 (+190) too, which scares me a bit!

Information and notes

  • Cristiano Ronaldo carried out a stroke of “genius” to win a controversial penalty for Portugal of their 3-2 win over Ghana, FIFA’s knowledgeable World Cup analysts mentioned Saturday. FIFA’s Technical Research Group (TSG) held a media briefing in Doha through which it mentioned this World Cup is on observe for a report variety of penalties and praised Ronaldo’s successful of the spot kick. Former Colombia goalkeeper and TSG panel member Faryd Mondragon mentioned: “Maybe the strikers are getting smarter? If you look at the penalty that Ronaldo got, people can say what they want about this man, but the smartness and the ingenious thought to just being patient and wait for that split second to touch the ball first before you, and continue my leg so that your contact will hit my leg. That is total genius.”

  • Luis Enrique has mentioned Spain midfielder Gavi can “define an era” forward of their World Cup group E conflict with Germany on Sunday. The 18-year-old Barcelona academy graduate scored and was named MVP within the 7-0 win Wednesday over Costa Rica, the nation’s biggest-ever victory at a World Cup. “The most surprising thing for everyone is that someone, at 18 years and 100 days old, has that amount of self-confidence,” Enrique mentioned at a information convention Saturday. “You have to look at the intelligence he has in his positioning, how he dominates the technical aspects of football, and his physical capacity despite being 18. We have to stay calm, he’s 18, but he can define an era.”

  • Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic mentioned his facet “deserves respect” following controversial feedback made by Canada coach John Herdman this week. Herdman mentioned he informed his gamers “go and ‘eff’ Croatia” in an on-pitch huddle following their slim defeat to Belgium of their World Cup Group F opener Wednesday. The phrase ”eff” — extensively assumed to be an abbreviation for an obscenity — sparked furore in Croatian media. “The Croatia team deserves respect from everyone,” Dalic mentioned Saturday, the day earlier than the 2 sides meet in a must-win match. “We are the runners-up, second in the world. We respect everyone equally so we expect our opposing teams to respect us. This way of putting words together is not a sign of respect.”

Matches on faucet for Sunday

– Group E: Japan vs. Costa Rica (Ahmad bin Ali Stadium; 5 a.m. ET)
Japan scored an upset win over Germany of their match opener, placing them in a snug place to face Costa Rica, who had been ripped to shreds 7-0 by Spain on Wednesday. A win for the Samurai, with a little bit of assist from Spain of their match in opposition to Germany, will see Japan via to the knockout stage.

– Group F: Belgium vs. Morocco (Al Thumama Stadium; 8 a.m. ET)
Belgium had been extremely fortunate to emerge from their opening match in opposition to Canada with a win. Morocco put in a valiant effort to take a scoreless draw in opposition to Russia 2018 finalists Croatia. If the Purple Devils flip in one other stale efficiency, a extra skilled Moroccan facet will not allow them to off the hook so simply.

Group F: Croatia vs. Canada (Khalifa Worldwide Stadium; 11 a.m. ET)
The fuse for this recreation has already been lit, after Canada coach John Herdman informed his staff to go “eff Croatia” of their subsequent match. The Canadians had been dominant in opposition to Belgium, however got here away empty-handed. Taking up Croatia was at all times going to be a problem, and one they wanted to satisfy, however their coach’s phrases have made that activity all of the steeper.

– Group E: Spain vs. Germany (Al Bayt Stadium; 2 p.m. ET)
It is a must-win recreation for Germany. In the event that they lose, they’ll exit of the competitors. In the meantime, Spain can transfer on to the spherical of 16 with a win over Die Nationalmannschaft and Japan win or draw in opposition to Costa Rica.

What else caught our eye

Earlier than Poland‘s recreation in opposition to Saudi Arabia, Lewandowski had performed in 4 World Cup matches however had failed to attain. He was risking becoming a member of different greats reminiscent of Luis Figo, Pavel Nedved and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in enjoying in a World Cup for his or her nation however by no means scoring. That modified, in emotional vogue, Saturday.



Gab Marcotti and Nedum Onouha react to Robert Lewandowski scoring his first aim within the FIFA World Cup.

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