Sun | Dec 3, 2023

Johnson, Fitzgerald pick France, Argentina

Published:Wednesday | June 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer

Coaches Calvert Fitzgerald and Baris Johnson have tipped Argentina and France to win today's matches and top their respective groups in the final round of games in the group in the FIFA World Cup football tournament in Brazil.

Argentina, who are one of the firm favourites to win the title, will oppose African team Nigeria in their Group F top-of-the-table encounter.

Argentina, who are coming off 1-0 victory over Iran, lead the group on six points ahead of Nigeria (four) and a win for either team will see them topping the group. They are followed by Iran (one) and Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are yet to gain a point from two matches.

"I think that Argentina will go for the win," said Johnson, who is the head coach of just-demoted Premier League campaigners, August Town.

"I think that Argentina will go all out to top the group and they would want to use this game to send a message to the rest of the teams in the World Cup," he said.

"I think that the top players have been doing a good job so far in the tournament in terms of representing themselves well, and so I think Lionel Messi and the rest of their stars are going to score some goals against this Nigerian team," Johnson said.

France have been impressive so far, coming off a 5-2 victory over Switzerland in their last game.

Group leaders

They lead Group E with six points, well ahead of Ecuador and Switzerland, who are both locked on three points. Honduras sit at the bottom of the table on zero, having suffered defeats in their two matches.

"I think France will definitely do the same because nobody wants to lose a game going into the knockout round of the competition," Johnson reasoned.

"I think if they should lose this game, it can throw off the whole chemistry of the team, and so, they will be going out to try and see how best they can get that physiological advantage going into the knockout round," Johnson pointed out.

Meanwhile Fitzgerald, coach of Premier League outfit Rivoli United, has sided with Johnson and said he expects Argentina and France to win both matches quite comfortably.

"I think Argentina will win this game because they are a much better attacking team than Nigeria," said Fitzgerald. "They (Argentina) are not so sound defensively, but I think they have a lot of creative players and goal scorers on their team to score some goals and win the game."

Fitzgerald added: "France should win this one quite comfortably because they are on a roll and they have struck up a good form in the competition, and so I don't see this Ecuador team stopping them from scoring and winning the game quite easily."