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France aren’t alone in picking up back-to-back victories on Sunday – if Les Bleus beat Argentina, BBC football expert Chris Sutton will have successfully picked the winner of two successive World Cups.
“I had another good tournament,” Sutton said. “And I’m happy to say that I took up the challenge of Kent the gibbon at Zagreb Zoo. He became very quiet after Croatia lost in the semi-finals.”
Sutton predicts the outcome of every game in Qatar and became a television star in Japan when he correctly labeled Blue Samurai’s shock victory over Germany in the group stage – sharing his celebrity status with a Tokyo otter called Taiyo, who also got that one. right.
Sutton was right again when he backed Argentina to skip their semi-final, and was also right when he said France would join them in the final.
He picked the winner of two of four quarter-finals – getting the exact score in Morocco’s win over Portugal and France’s win over England – and five of the eight round of 16.
He has a 56% overall pass rate for the tournament, having picked the correct result in 26 of 48 group matches.
Before the start of the World Cup, Sutton chose 12 of the 16 teams who progressed to the first knockout stage, including England, which he said would go all the way to the final eight.
|Brazil (7):||Micah Richards, Alex Scott, Ashley Williams, Gabby Logan, Jurgen Klinsmann, Rio Ferdinand, Karen Bardsley, Matthew Upson, Rob Green|
|Argentina (3):||Alan Shearer, Jermaine Jenas, Danny Murphy|
|France 2) :||Chris Sutton Danny Gabbidon|
|England (1):||Farrah Williams|
Predictions for the third place play-offs and the Sutton World Cup final
|ELIMINATION FOR THIRD PLACE|
|Saturday 17 Dec.|
|Croatia v Morocco||xx||1-2|
|WORLD CUP FINAL|
|Sunday, December 18|
|Argentina vs France||xx||1-3|
saturday december 17
Croatia – Morocco (Khalifa International Stadium, 19:00 GMT)
I was disgusted for Morocco, who lacked defenders with the injuries they picked up before and during their semi-final loss to France.
I also wonder about all the emotion they used in their incredible run to the last four, and if they might all be feeling a bit flat now that their dream is over.
Morocco will still be desperate to win this game and finish third, although I don’t know what Croatia’s selection or mindset will look like.
They drew 0-0 when they met in the group stage, but this time if both teams are as strong as possible and do everything for victory, I would support Croatia.
I don’t think that will happen, so let’s give Morocco’s fairy tale a winning finish.
Sutton’s prediction: 1-2
Sunday, December 18
Argentina – France (Lusail Iconic Stadium, 7:00 p.m.)
France are quite a confusing team as I look at them with high expectations, but I’m still a bit bored and think there must be more to come.
The supports are effective, rather than exciting, and at the moment they remind me of a Citroen cruising down an old highway. They have a few more gears to find, but they might just get to their destination without using them.
We would all like England to be efficient like that, of course, and to win World Cups by finding a way and without too much fuss.
I think the French public would prefer them to play like Manchester City or Spain – well, maybe Spain in terms of possession but also shots on goal – and dominate games, win brilliantly and do it with style.
But their manager Didier Deschamps is pragmatic and doesn’t care what people think. They were also called bland four years ago, but they ended up world champions.
Instead of trying to keep the ball, France don’t seem to want it at all. Morocco had 23% possession in their win over Spain but managed 61% against the French.
France don’t play fluent football, but they carry the ball quickly and choose their moments – and, with someone like Kylian Mbappe in the squad, they can be devastating in those moments.
Mbappe only played in spurts, but that was enough. Olivier Giroud was a revelation and Antoine Griezmann chained everything.
It’s worked so far, so they’re not going to change much now, are they?
Messi and Mbappe are the men of the big moments
Argentina are the same in that they don’t care about having the ball, but are a team fueled by emotion rather than efficiency – and Messi’s tournament was also about moments , just like that of Mbappe for France.
After losing their first match of the tournament against Saudi Arabia, they have been under pressure ever since.
They’ve handled that and their supporters’ expectations well – it’s proven too much for them in the past but, here, their supporters have lifted the team with their outstanding support and they’ll also outnumber France in final.
Watching them so far I think they will try to stay in the game early on and then wait for spaces to open up for Messi, that’s when he became important . Julian Alvarez has been superb and will be a threat with his runs behind the defense but overall France still have more firepower.
A finale for purists?
I have a soft spot for Argentina, and not just because of Messi, but regarding my prediction, I’m going to say France will win because I supported them before the start of this World Cup.
As for how they’re going to win, I’d like to say it’s going to be a final for purists where there’s some great football on both sides, but I suspect it’s actually going to be a stop-start game, decided by moments of individual brilliance. .
However, a lot could depend on Polish referee Szymon Marciniak and his satisfaction.
I watched Argentina a lot and thought a tougher referee could have punished them with more cards in some of their matches because their players seem to be on edge most of the time.
So, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few red cards, especially if Argentina fall behind. I love watching them because of their passion, but they will fight and fight to win at all costs.
I was there in Kazan when they mistreated Mbappe as France beat them in the round of 16 in 2018, and there will be more this time I’m sure.
Argentinian players fight for their shirt, fight for their fans and fight for Messi, to send him on the right path. They will have to control themselves and exploit their aggression, and I am not convinced that they will.
We could see dark arts from both sides as France are not afraid of a physical battle and, if Argentina lose, they won’t go quietly.
Sutton’s prediction: 1-3
All Sutton World Cup round of 16 predictions
|Tuesday 13 Dec|
|Argentina vs Croatia||3-0||1-0|
|Wednesday 14 Dec|
|France v Morocco||2-0||2-1|
|Friday 9 Dec.|
|Croatia v Brazil||1-1 (Cro wins 4-2 on penalties)||0-3|
|Netherlands vs Argentina||2-2 (Arg wins 4-3 on penalties)||2-1|
|saturday 10 dec.|
|Morocco v Portugal||1-0||1-0|
|England v France||1-2||1-2|
|Saturday, December 3|
|Netherlands vs USA||3-1||2-1|
|Argentina vs Australia||2-1||5-0|
|Sunday, December 4|
|France v Poland||3-1||4-0|
|England v Senegal||3-0||2-1|
|Monday, December 5|
|Japan vs Croatia||1-1 (Cro wins 3-1 on penalties)||2-1 AET*|
|Brazil v South Korea||4-1||2-0|
|tuesday 6 december|
|Morocco vs Spain||0-0 (Mor wins 3-0 on penalties)||0-1|
|Portugal v Switzerland||6-1||1-1 P**|
** Switzerland will win on penalties
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