Especially after the now-deposed champions won the Confederations Cup a year ago with a rejuvenated team full of talent and qualified for Russian Federation with a ideal record of ten wins.
Key battle: While not a direct match-up, there is no doubting midfielders Luka Modric and Christian Eriksen are the key men in this one.
Wins over Panama and Tunisia were backed up by a victory over England.
With Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani capable of grabbing goals, Oscar Tabarez's well-drilled side know they are always in with a chance.
Top stat: Kane is the top goalscorer at the World Cup, the Three Lions captain scoring five goals to lead the race for the Golden Boot despite sitting out their loss to Belgium. Spain is still in this year's tournament and is a favorite to win the whole thing.
It all started with a poor showing against Mexico in the Germans' first match of the World Cup, where they were beaten 1-0.
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Despite his feat, the 22-year-old was surprisingly left out of the squad for Russian Federation and the Germans departed the group stages after losing to Mexico and South Korea either side of a late victory over Sweden.
"Problems arose, but they were not dealt with and communication from the DFB has been poor, they seemed too comfortable going into the tournament, despite the contract extension and the and the Recep Tayyip Erdogan story". Tactical upheaval and painfully ponderous performances suggest Didier Deschamps is still working out how to make the most of his talented squad. France have more questions than answers. But the hosts have shown they are no pushovers, particularly in Moscow, where they play Spain next.
Critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin have accused him of using the World Cup to defy Western sanctions over the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine, though a number of national leaders and ministers have attended matches and met Putin or members of his government. But there was also a turgid draw against Australia and a win over Peru that might well have been different had their opponents scored a penalty. They were not playing with body language.
Group D: Croatia (9 points), Argentina (4), Nigeria (3), Iceland (1).
France are better set up to cope with Messi, while they also have the quality in attack to exploit the holes in the Argentina defence.