Argentina vs France Result and Match Review: World Cup Round of 16 clash: Kazan Arena – June 30, 2018
Match Result: Argentina 3, France 4
Messi and runners-up of WC 2014 Argentina are out of the World Cup and it was France's No. 10 teen sensation Kylian Mbappe who virtually played a lone hand in tearing apart the Albiceleste defenses.
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The French were in the front foot right from the start. In as early as the 6th minute of play, Mbappe's searing run down the middle after picking up a loose ball near the half-line, beat Argentine defender Mascherano who's only option was to slide and bring the teenager down.
A free-kick was awarded in the 6th minute of play to the French which Antione Griezmann took.
The shot dipped over the defensive wall and rattled the crossbar with goalkeeper Franco Armani completely beaten.
The 11th minute saw a mid-field muddle between Nicolas Tagliafico and Ever Banega with the ball rolling out to a waiting Mbappe who made another Olympian run, leaving Argentine defenders completely out of breathe in chasing him down.
Marco Rojo saW the only way to stop him – bringing him down.
That happened inside the box and a penalty was awarded.
Griezmann expectedly took the shot waiting for Armani to dive to his left and slotting the ball in the opposite way.
1-0 to France in the 13th minute.
Mbappe waas in action when he drew another free-kick just outisde the box when he controlled a high ball from Paul Pogba but prevented from shooting by a trip from Tagliafico.
Pogba's free kick in the 20th sailed over the bar.
But just when it appeared that Mbappe and France would take the game away from the South Americans, a Angel Di Maria's scorcher from 30 yards found the corner of net and Argentina equalized in the 41st minute.
The scored stayed that way till half-time with French shoulders drooping a bit.
The Argentines took the lead in the 48th when a Messi left-footer heading towards goalkeeper Hugo Lloris hit the toe of a leaping Gabriel Mercado who in trying to avoid deflected it into the bottom near corner of the net.
Come the 58th minute when a Blaise Matuidi cross avoided everyone in the middle and bounced a bit awkwardly to right-back Benjamin Pavard playing in a much advanced position.
The 22-year showed tremendous technique in delivering a vicious right-footed drive to the corner of the net to bring France to level terms.It was all Mbappe for the next five minutes.
Matuidi's shot into a wall of defenders fell to the French whiz kid who jigged the ball to the left and drove in a low angular shot underneath Armani to give France the lead in the 64th.
Olivier Giroud running down the left essayed a cross to Mbappe who without breaking a stride shot the ball to the far corner of the net.
4-2 to France in the 67th minute.
Messi who for the most part was ineffective and marked by some brilliant French defending came to life showing his legendary dribbling skills in getting past three players outside the box, but with only Lloris to beat he delivered a shot with his weaker right foot that landed straight in the goalkeepers lap.
Giroud could have easily put in a fifth for the French when a Pogba pass found him totally unmarked, but the striker's shot somehow found the side-netting.
Coach Samboli brings in Sergio Aguero in place of Enzo Perez to turn things for the Argentine and the Manchester City striker almost delivered.
It was a brilliant floating cross into the middle of the box by Messi with Aguero darting forward and delivering a powerful header into the bottom of the net. 4-3 to Argentina in the 93rd minute.
The Aguero goal came a bit too late. Messi's World Cup dreams are over and so must be his international career.
The end of the game in the 95th minute was marked by some unruly scenes with Giroud engaging in a scuffle with Tagliafico and players from both sides joining in.
France now head to the quarter-finals to play the winners of the Uruguay-Portugal match. It could well be the Euro 2016 finals all over again in the Round of 8 July 6th game.