Welcome to the Round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup. Business is about to pick up.
The first set of Round of 16 games are here — and they are a couple of damn good fixtures at that. That’s not just because there’s a Juventus angle to both of the games. (Although, seeing Paulo Dybala actually play more than 10 minutes would be nice. I AM JUST SAYING.) That’s not just because there’s the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi playing against each other in the quarterfinals if each of their respective countries win today.
It’s mainly because there’s the possibility of 180 minutes — or more! — of some really, really good football happening right in front of us.
Argentina and France kick things off, which will obviously be dominated by pre-game talk of how Messi can get his team deep into the knockout rounds. And for as much pre-game chatter as there will be about Messi, it’s probably going to be the same about Ronaldo in the lead-up to the second half of today’s Round of 16 doubleheader.
At least, that’s what I expect from the TV broadcasts here in the United States. (They’re just so gosh darn predictable...)
But it’s impossible to avoid the Juventus connections — both current and former. There’s obviously the Dybala/Gonzalo Higuain dynamic for Argentina. There’s Blaise Matuidi for France. There’s Paul Pogba and his hairstyle de jure for France. There’s our wonderful midfielder youngster by the name of Rodrigo Bentancur who has had a pretty good tournament thus far. And then there’s the team that didn’t call up new Juventus signee Joao Cancelo for the World Cup.
So, basically, there’s storylines aplenty.
Welcome to the World Cup knockout round.
Let us get back to watching games. That day without any games sure was a pain in the ass.
Argentina vs. France: 10 a.m. Eastern Time, 7 a.m. Pacific (NBC link here)
Uruguay vs. Portugal: 2 p.m. Eastern Time, 11 a.m. Pacific (NBC link here)
HOW TO WATCH
Television: Argentina-France and Uruguay-Portugal will both be shown on FOX (United States); TSN4, TSN5 (Canada); UTV, STV Scotland, ITV1 UK (United Kingdom)
Online/mobile: Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (links above); Fox Sports Go (United States); TSN GO, RDS GO (Canada); The ITV Hub (United Kingdom)
Note: This post will be updated daily as the main World Cup viewing and off-topic thread here at BWRAO. Stay tuned to BWRAO for posts regarding Juventus’ representation in Russia as well as any transfer-related happenings that take place before, during or after the day’s schedule comes and goes.