WORLD CUP 2018

Argentina's priority: Improve or implode

Messi and Co still doubtful in defence and average in attack as they face France in last 16

It looks like a mouth-watering clash on paper when Argentina take on France in the round of 16 on Saturday, but a classic is possible only if the South Americans make vast improvements over the next few days.

They were minutes away from a 1-1 draw with Nigeria at St Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday, before Marcos Rojo converted Gabriel Mercado's cross in the 86th minute to stave off elimination by the skin of their teeth.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2018, with the headline 'Argentina's priority: Improve or implode'. Subscribe