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A brief tale of Argentina’s 2nd round matches at the WC

  • Published at 01:25 pm June 30th, 2018
  • Last updated at 01:51 pm June 30th, 2018
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Argentina football team Reuters

Since kicking off their Fifa World Cup campaign with a 1-0 win over France approximately 88 years ago in Uruguay, Argentina surprisingly have never met the Les Blues in the second round.

It all changed in Russia as the two teams prepare to face each other in the last 16 Saturday as the knockout stage will get underway after a fortnight of drama and controversies in the group stage.

So who did two-time champion Argentina take on as opponents in the last 16 in all these years?

And what was the Albiceleste’s playing XI like? 

Here we take a look:

2014 Brazil: Riding on Angel di Maria’s lone strike in the additional extra time, Group F winner Argentina edged Switzerland in the first match of the knockout stage to set up a quarter-final clash with Belgium, which the Albiceleste won 1-0.

Starting XI: Sergio Romero; Ezequiel Garay, Pablo Zabaleta, Fernando Gago (Lucas Biglia, 106'), Angel di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi (C), Javier Mascherano, Marcos Rojo (Jose Maria Basanta, 105+1'), Federico Fernandez, Ezequiel Lavezzi (Rodrigo Palacio, 74').

2010 South Africa: Having emerged as Group B winner, Argentina defeated Mexico 3-1 in the second round to set up a quarter tie with Germany, which the Die Mannschaft won 4-0. Carlos Tevez scored a brace while Gonzalo Higuain added the other, all in the second half.

Starting XI: Sergio Romero; Martin Demichelis, Nicolas Burdisso, Gabriel Heinze, Angel di Maria (Jonas Gutierrez, 79'), Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez (Juan Sebastian Veron, 69'), Javier Mascherano (C), Nicolas Otamendi, Maxi Rodriguez (Clemente Rodriguez, 87').

2006 Germany: As Group C winner, Argentina got Mexico in the last and duly won 2-1, despite conceding the opener as early as the sixth minute. After Hernan Crespo’s equaliser, Maxi Rodriguez thumped in the winner in extra time. The Sky Blues however, lost to host Germany in the tie-breaker in the quarter-final.

Starting XI: Roberto Abbondanzieri; Roberto Ayala, Juan Pablo Sorin (C), Esteban Cambiasso (Pablo Aimar, 76'), Gabriel Heinze, Javier Saviola (Lionel Messi, 84'), Javier Mascherano, Hernan Crespo (Carlos Tevez, 75'), Juan Roman Riquelme, Lionel Scaloni, Maxi Rodriguez.

2002 South Korea/Japan: Argentina crashed out from the group stage after finishing third behind Sweden and England in Group F.

1998 France: Group H winner Argentina defeated England 4-3 in the penalty shootout after normal time ended 2-2 where both sides were awarded a penalty each within 10 minutes into the game. Gabriel Batistuta (5’) and Alan Shearer (9’) both converted for Argentina and England respectively. Javier Zanetti scored the other for the Albiceleste while Michael Owen netted England’s second goal. Argentina however, lost to the Netherlands 2-1 in the last eight.

Starting XI: Carlos Roa; Roberto Ayala, Jose Chamot, Matias Almeyda, Claudio Lopez (Marcelo Gallardo, 68'), Diego Simeone (C), Gabriel Batistuta, (Hernan Crespo, 68'), Ariel Ortega, Juan Sebastian Verón, Nelson Vivas, Javier Zanetti.

1994 USA: After losing 2-0 to Bulgaria in their last group stage match, Argentina then suffered a 3-2 loss at the hands of Romania in the last 16. Gabriel Batistuta and Abel Balbo netted one each for the losing side.

Starting XI: Luis Islas; Jose Chamot, Roberto Sensini (Ramon Bello, 62'), Fernando Redondo, Oscar Ruggeri (C), Jose Basualdo, Gabriel Batistuta, Fernando Caceres, Diego Simeone, Ariel Ortega, Abel Balbo.

1990 Italy: Defending champion Argentina recovered from their shock 1-0 loss against Roger Milla’s Nigeria in their opening game before handing Brazil a 1-0 defeat in the last 16. Claudio Caniggia scored the winner in the 81st minute. Argentina later won the quarter-final against Yugoslavia on penalties.

Starting XI: Sergio Goycochea; Jose Basualdo, Jorge Burruchaga, Claudio Caniggia, Diego Maradona (C), Ricardo Giusti, Pedro Monzon, Julio Olarticoechea, Oscar Ruggeri, Juan Simon, Pedro Troglio (Gabriel Calderon, 61')

1986 Mexico: Diego Maradona’s Argentina were unbeaten in the group stage and beat Uruguay 1-0 in the second round, thanks to a first-half winner by Pedro Pasculli. They later defeated England 2-1 in the quarter-final before eventually claiming their second World Cup title.

Starting XI: Nery Pumpido; Sergio Batista (Julio Olarticoechea, 85'), Jose Brown, Jorge Burruchaga, Jose Cuciuffo, Diego Maradona (C), Jorge Valdano, Oscar Garre, Ricardo Giusti, Pedro Pasculli, Oscar Ruggeri.

1974 West Germany, 1978 Argentina and 1982 Spain: There were no knockout last 16 clashes in these three World Cup editions. The first and second round were played in accordance with the group stage format.

1930 Uruguay, 1934 Italy, 1938 France, 1950 Brazil, 1954 Switzerland, 1958 Sweden, 1962 Chile, 1966 England and 1970 Mexico: Argentina finished as runners up in 1930 and only played one game in 1934, losing 3-2 against Sweden in the preliminary round. The Albiceleste did not participate in any World Cup from 1934 to 1954. Following their return, Argentina were eliminated in the first round in 1958 and 1962. The Sky Blues finally made it to the knockout stage in 1966 but lost to host England in the last eight. Argentina failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1970.