France into quarter-finals after seven-goal thriller
Kylian Mbappe stars in epic 4-3 comeback win for France
Argentina and Lionel Messi exit Russia 2018
RELIVE: As it happened, stats and more | Post-match press conference
In the first of the Round of 16 encounters at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, France defeated Argentina 4-3 in a spectacular game to match their achievement from four years ago and book a place in the quarter-finals.
Proceedings began at a frenetic pace, with not even ten minutes played when Antoine Griezmann curled a free-kick against the crossbar after Kylian Mbappe had been fouled. A few minutes later Mbappe was again brought down, this time in the penalty area, and Greizmann made no mistake from the spot. Argentina needed a spell of possession to compose themselves and digest going behind. They also needed something special to get back into the game, and Angel Di Maria provided it with a stunning long-range strike to bring them level, against the run of play, before the interval.
Buoyed by that equaliser, the South Americans turned the game on its head in the second period. Lionel Messi collected the ball after a free-kick was only half-cleared, and his shot on the turn was diverted into the net by Gabriel Mercado. Les Bleus did not need to wait long to provide the perfect response to going behind, however. Benjamin Pavard scored a wonder goal of his own to make it 2-2, before the irrepressible Mbappe scored twice in four minutes. Argentina replied yet again late on through substitute Sergio Aguero, but it was too little, too late for the South Americans.
Antoine Griezmann of France celebrates with teammate Olivier Giroud
KAZAN, RUSSIA - JUNE 30: Antoine Griezmann of France celebrates with teammate Olivier Giroud after scoring his team's first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between France and Argentina at Kazan Arena on June 30, 2018 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
France v Argentina: Lionel Messi of Argentina reacts
KAZAN, RUSSIA - JUNE 30: Lionel Messi of Argentina reacts during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between France and Argentina at Kazan Arena on June 30, 2018 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Team Reporter Analysis Adrien Gingold with France [Follow: Twitter | Facebook] The French team showed themselves and the world what they are capable of. Despite the two Argentinian goals, this was a perfect game by France. As Kylian Mbappe and Benjamin Pavard showed, France’s young talent are not just quick; they’re also inspired, professional and very, very efficient. Coach Didier Deschamps' charges were impeccable in reaching the next round.
Diego Zandrino with Argentina [Follow: Twitter | Facebook] Argentina’s World Cup dream lies in ruins! The Albiceleste lost to a France outfit that was simply a better team. Jorge Sampaoli’s side were unable to make the most of the chances they created and, in the space of 11 minutes, lost everything that they had worked so hard for. Now the focus must turn to how this team can get back on its feet.
Budweiser Man of the Match From the first whistle, Kylian Mbappe was simply too hot to handle for Argentina. The striker, still only 19 years old, used his raw speed to devastating effect to leave defenders trailing in his wake all game. He capped his performance with two goals to take his side into the next round.
The Stat 80 – Didier Deschamps is now the longest-serving coach in the history of the French national team. The FIFA World Cup™ winner from 1998 presided over his 80th game in charge of Les Bleus in Kazan, moving ahead of 49-year-old former coach and predecessor Raymond Domenech.
What’s next France play the winner of Uruguay v Portugal – Quarter-final, 6 July, Nizhny Novgorod