The World Cup Round of 16 stage kicked off Saturday afternoon with a cracking game in Kazan as France saw off a spirited Argentine challenge to advance to the quarter finals.
Teenager Kylian Mbbapé was the man of the moment as he grabbed a brace to lead his team to victory, a quickfire brace which arrived at a crucial moment to wrench the game away from Argentina.
The Lionel Messi led Albiceleste had struggled to come out of their group, needing an 86th minute goal from Marcos Rojo against Nigeria to snatch qualification. France on the other hand had coasted through their group, not necessarily roaring on all cylinders but never needing to do so either.
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The biggest game of the Round of 16, it didn’t disappoint as Antoine Griezmann put France ahead with only 13 minutes on the clock.
Mbappé run virtually the length of the pitch before being hauled down by Marcus Rojo, with the Atletico Madrid forward burying the resulting spotkick.
France controlled the game from then on but failed to score and would soon rue those missed chances.
Angel di Maria scored a scorcher in the 41st minute, receiving a pass, controlling it with his favourite left foot, then firing into the top corner with almost no backlift – it was one of the best goals the tournament has seen so far.
A stunned French team came back for the second half in confusion and were soon to go behind, after Gabriel Mercado turned in a Leo Messi shot.
But the incredibly talented French squad could not be kept quiet for long and they were level after right back Pavard hit a screamer into the net.
Mbappé then took the game by the scruff of the neck, scoring twice in five minutes to put his side two goals up.
A late goal by Manchester City’s Kun Aguero came too little, too late, as another Messi attempt to win the world cup and complete his legacy went up in flames.
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