If you are a professional predictor and predicted Nigeria over Argentina to qualify in the Round of 16, you must have gone into loss by now. Though no one expected the Latin American country would go any further the group stage at least after the humiliation against Croatia. Though there were some lucks going in favour of the side but no one can really ignore the determination of the Blues and Whites showed in the last match against Nigeria. After all, it is the greatest stage of football where best of the world must shine more than anything and if Leo Messi would have been relegated from the group stage, would you believe in justice?

Argentina will face France though tomorrow in the round of 16, which seems to be one of the toughest game they would ever face. France have a tight, balanced and up going squad, regarded as one of the favourites. Though Argentina can definitely go past them and here is why,

 

#Group stage nervousness is now gone.

Argentina drew with Iceland who were defensively strong. Leo Messi missed a penalty and it cost 2 points. Thereafter, they were beaten by Croatia, where Argentine midfield seemed helpless in front of Modric and Rakitic duo. Nigeria then came into play and beat Iceland and gave Argentina a chance to qualify. Though Nigeria could have killed the game in the last quarter if it had not been a poor miss from Ighalo. Moreover, Argentina looked nervous at the group stage, but that period is over. Now on, it would be knockout games and no pre-match disappointments may hunt the boys in the field. They will be there to give their 100% and that’s what you need in a tournament of this height.

 

#Pumped up and boiling blood.

After the Croatia match, the whole team looked so down and broken. Even Leo Messi looked fatigued and seemed to have no interest to continue the match. The scenario was completely different against Nigeria. Though the South American nation didn’t look very cohesive in the second half, Argentina managed to bring out a win. Mascherano was vocal all over the match and Messi himself seemed to be leading from the front to help his team-mates be inspired. The late goal from Marcos Rojo really helped the side to again believe in themselves. It was an aura from them which was telling that they can do it too.

 

#No pressure of expectation.

Argentina has been the least impressive team who have qualified for the next round. With a very apparently bleak midfield and a shaky goalkeeper in front of the nets, no one really agrees to fit them in the position of favourites. What France have in their bag can easily overhaul this Argentina, but Football is a team game. Didier Deschamps must make his cards play together, which still lacks in the game of France. If Argentina and Messi factor clicks together, well, France may have their last night tomorrow at Russia.

 

#The X factor.

Argentina have got a bunch of players who would play their last World Cup of their career. Mascherano, Higuain, Aguero, Di Maria and the master Leo Messi may not feature again in World Cup. It is an emotional as well the perfect moment to show their true colours. Di Maria was impressive against Nigeria in the first half. Aguero had a goal so far but Higuain needs to sort out himself if the side wants to lift the greatest ever golden trophy. Moreover if Argentina can beat France they may face Portugal in the Quaters, which would not be so tough to accomplish. After then it would be Belgium or Brazil (if no other exceptions take place), which may put them in some pressure.

 

#The Heart of Billions: Leo Messi.

Just when the side needed, he showed what he truly is. Started with a penalty miss and finished the group stage with a right-footed perfect finish. At Barcelona, things are quite easy for this forward, though in the national jersey he doesn’t get many privileges. The best number 10 of recent times is seen to lead the team talk at the halftime last time and lead his side to the line of victory. Pushing Rojo forward was the part of the plan and it is seen what damage can a ‘Leader Messi’ do to the opposition. Though Messi must be very cautious as he may get marked next time like he got against Croatia.

It could have become a fairytale comes true if Leo Messi and his team lift the World Cup. Moreover, who do you think deserves more than him to be the champions?