FIFA : Watch out for the favorites as knockout round rolls out

Round of 16 fixture going to be really interesting

As the knockout rounds of FIFA football World Cupkick off in Russia today, here’s a look at the top players to watch out from the last 16 encounter between France and Argentina

Paul Pogba

Pogba will be returning to the starting line-up for France after being rested for the dead rubber fixture against Denmark. He hasn’t managed to replicate the form that made him the most expensive player in 2016, still Argentina will be wary of the explosive midfielder.

Lionel Messi

Right from the World Cup qualifiers Argentina’s talismanic captain has been pulling them through with his phenomenal performances. While he was widely criticized for his performances in the first two group stage games, Messi answered his critics with an excellent opening goal against Nigeria.

Javier Mascherano

The experienced midfielder will be responsible for keeping Pogba quiet in the midfield. He has been an important asset for Argentina with 264 successful passes completed and 80 percent successful tackles so far in the tournament.

N’Golo Kante

The diminutive midfielder has been exceptional for France breaking up opposition attacks and providing ample cover for the marauding Paul Pogba. He may be entrusted with the responsibility of man marking Lionel Messi and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top in that battle.

Ever Banega

The 29-year-old midfielder has been enterprising every time he has come on for Argentina in the group stages. His intelligent runs into the box as well as his ability to weave past defenders could prove vital for Argentina with Aguero still not firing on all cylinders.

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