With the last eight of the 2018 World Cup now confirmed, the real attention turns to who can win the competition.
With pre tournament favourites and holders Germany already out, alongside other big hitters including 2010 champions Spain, current European champions Portugal and Argentina.
Brazil are now the most established name left in the tournament – alongside Didier Deschamps’ France – however neither of them have won the competition in the last 16 years.
France navigated themselves to the top of Group C, with wins over Australia and Peru – and a draw against fellow qualifiers Denmark.
Whilst Les Bleus have did not catch fire during the group stages, leading to criticism of certain players and of Deschamps, they laid down a marker against Argentina in the last 16.
Despite conceding three goals against Jorge Sampaoli’s team, the story of their 4-3 victory was the dazzling performance of Kylian Mbappe.
His pace and directness caused huge problems for Argentina from the first minute, with the only way to stop him being a foul.
He was tripped for an early free kick which Antoine Griezmann hit the bar from, before winning a penalty – which the Atletico Madrid man converted with ease.
Time and again, his speed and ability to get out of tight situations meant that Argentina were on the back foot – and PSG new star was allowed to shine in the space he was continually provided with.
However the situation will be much different when they face Uruguay on Friday, with Oscar Tabarez’s team boasting the best defensive record in the tournament.
As a unit, Uruguay are the most defensively adept team in the World Cup, organised and physical, with experience matched with pace in key areas, they will make this a real battle for France.
Uruguay’s other strength is the ability to shut up shop, and grind out a result – three of their four wins so far have been by just one goal.
If they do manage to get a lead on France, then Deschamps’ side will be really up against it, as Urugauy will simply close ranks on them – denying the space that Mbappe and Griezmann need to perform.
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