BIG CLASH, FRANCE AND AR­GENTINA

Mid­fielder Celso be­lieves ex­pe­ri­enced Ar­gentina can ex­ploit team of young­sters

Afro Voice (National Edition) - - Front Page -

AR­GENTINA mid­fielder Gio­vani Lo Celso said there are “flaws” to ex­ploit against France when the two coun­tries meet in the last 16 of the World Cup on Saturday.

Two-time cham­pi­ons Ar­gentina scraped through to the knock­out phase as run­ners-up in Group D fol­low­ing a tense 2-1 win over Nige­ria in their fi­nal match.

Lo Celso is more fa­mil­iar than most with Ar­gentina’s up­com­ing op­po­nents as three of his Paris Saint-Ger­main team-mates – Kylian Mbappe, Pres­nel Kim­pembe and Alphonse Are­ola –are in the France squad.

“We’re fac­ing a great op­po­nent, a great team that was un­beaten in the group phase. But we know we’re a big team too and we have our weapons. I think it’s go­ing to be a great game,” Lo Celso said yes­ter­day.

“The France team, with space and the peo­ple they have, can put you in dan­ger. In gen­eral it’s a very good team and very united.

“But while they have many strengths they also have flaws and we have to take ad­van­tage of them.”

De­fender Fed­erico Fazio said Tues­day’s vic­tory over Nige­ria had boosted the spirit in the camp af­ter the 3-0 loss to Croa­tia had left Ar­gentina on the verge of elim­i­na­tion.

“It was a dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude from the whole team, from all the play­ers in the third game,” said Fazio.

“I think from the first minute, also know­ing what the con­se­quences of not win­ning were, the team was much more in­volved, coura­geous and to­gether.” France have never beaten Ar­gentina in a com­pet­i­tive match, the last of which came at the 1978 World Cup, but Les Bleus are one of the favourites for the ti­tle. “France are a big op­po­nent, with great play­ers. We have re­spect for them but we feel very good,” said Fazio.

“I think af­ter the win against Nige­ria we feel much stronger and more con­fi­dent.

“We know we have a great team, with great play­ers and the con­fi­dence of a big team. We have to make the most of it.” – AFP

PIC­TURE: NURPHOTO PIC­TURE: SPUT­NIK

CLASS ACT: France star An­toine Griez­mann. MES­SIAH?: Ar­gentina’s Lionel Messi.

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