World Cup 2018 - Day 13 at a glance
Lionel Messi’s Argentina must beat Nigeria as Denmark face France in Moscow
Antoine Griezmann’s France take on Denmark on Tuesday. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP
ONE TO WATCH
Two wins from two games have secured France’s place in the last-16, but Les Bleus are yet to look like a fluid force at this summer’s World Cup. They were reliant on VAR to beat Australia, winning their opener in Kazan 2-1 - before Kylian Mbappe’s scrambled finish saw them get past Peru. Didier Deschamps has an embarrassment of attacking riches at his disposal, but is still looking for the perfect formula - he opted for the more functional talents of Olivier Giroud over the thrilling pace of Ousmane Dembélé in Yekaterinburg. And one player who is yet to truly arrive in Russia is Antoine Griezmann, who bar winning and scoring a penalty against the Socceroos has thus far had a quiet tournament.
Indeed, the biggest contribution Griezmann has made this summer came before France had kicked a ball, as he released a video on social media declaring his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid - something which screamed of narcissism rather than loyalty. However, Griezmann remains one of the most exciting attacking talents at the finals, and at 27-years-old we are - in theory -witnessing him at the peak of his powers. You get the impression both Griezmann and France are feeling their way into this World Cup, and the best is yet to come.
Ahmed Musa’s Leicester City career started off brightly before he faded into relative obscurity and was loaned back to CSKA Moscow in January of this year. However, he offered a very timely reminder of his talents last Friday - scoring two spectacular goals during Nigeria’s 2-0 win over Iceland. The first was a sublime finish, plucking Victor Moses’s cross out of the air before rifling a half-volley past Hannes Halldórsson. The second showcased his pace and composure, as he beat his man to a ball on the left before cutting inside and finishing coolly past two defenders on the line, after he’d left the Iceland ‘keeper on his backside.
Nigeria know a point against Argentina on Tuesday will likely be enough to see them qualify for the knockouts - but with Lionel Messi’s side needing to win possession is likely to be at a premium for the Super Eagles. This means 25-year-old Musa’s pace on the counter will be vital, and if he can prove just as clinical in St Petersburg, Gernot Rohr’s side have every chance of upsetting the odds and securing progression into the last-16.
DID YOU KNOW?
On Monday Fifa announced Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri would both be fined but escape a ban for their goal celebrations in Switzerland’s 2-1 win over Serbia. Both players are ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, where a Serbian crackdown on the Albanian population forced a Nato intervention in 1999. The Swiss goal scorers celebrated by making a gesture with their hands which appeared to symbolise the double-headed eagle found on the Albanian flag. They were fined 10,000 Swiss francs for their troubles (€8,600).