When: 2 p.m. at Mexico City


Top players: Italy -- forward Alessandro Altobelli, midfielder Bruno Conti, fullback Fernando de Napoli; France -- midfielder Michel Platini, midfielder Alain Giresse, midfielder Jean Tigana.

Analysis: This is the most-anticipated match in the round of 16, featuring the defending world champion (Italy) against the defending European champion (France). If France's marvelous midfield controls the match, it should win. The French hope goalkeeper Joel Bats (right knee sprain) is ready to play. Platini, regarded by many as the world's best player, has yet to assert himself. Italy Coach Enzo Bearzot promises an aggressive offense to shake loose Altobelli (four goals in '86 Cup) and forward Giuseppe Galderisi; however, so far the Italians' famed swift counterattacks have been absent. "I don't want it to reach penalty kicks," Bearzot said.


When: 6 p.m. at Monterrey

TV: SIN-14

Top players: Morocco -- fullback Mohammed Timoumi, midfielder Abderrazak Khairi, goalkeeper Ezaki Badou; West Germany -- forward Rudi Voller, forward Klaus Allofs, goalkeeper Harald Schumacher.

Analysis: The Moroccans are fine dribblers and defenders, and are the surprise of the Cup after winning Group F. Timoumi, sometimes called "Africa's Pele," is the team's glue and a major reason it allowed only one goal in three first-round matches. West Germany's defense is formidable (despite a couple of first-round lapses), and chances are its counterattacks will give Morocco trouble. West German forward Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, still recovering from a knee injury, has been a reserve for Coach Franz Beckenbauer; Rummenigge is unhappy with his playing time and has not been effective in his short stints.

UPCOMING GAMES Wednesday England vs. Paraguay, 2 Denmark vs. Spain, 6 Quarterfinals Saturday Brazil vs. Italy-France winner, 2 Morocco-West Germany winner vs. Mexico, 6 Sunday Argentina vs. England-Paraguay winner, 2 Denmark-Spain winner vs. Belgium, 6