KAZAN – Kylian Mbappé scored twice in three minutes to give France a shocking 4-3 lead over Argentina in their World Cup knockout match on Saturday.
Messi departs after a frustrating tournament in which Argentina only barely escaped a humiliating elimination in the group stage. But it ended as all his major tournaments with Argentina’s senior national team: without a trophy, and while carrying the burden of a team defeat on his slight shoulders. At 31, he may choose to make this his last World Cup.
Antoine Griezmann converted the spot kick to give France an early lead in 13th minute.
Angel Di Maria unleashed a stunning long-range strike in the 41st minute to draw Argentina level at 1-1 against France at halftime at the Kazan Arena in Russia.
And then Gabriel Mercado turned in a low shot by Messi three minutes into the second half for a 2-1 lead.
But France was simply too good. The teenage forward Kylian Mbappé won a penalty in the first half with a three-quarter-field run, and then scored two goals of his own four minutes apart to stick in the knife on Argentina.
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Antoine Griezmann scored France’s first goal, converting the penalty Mbappé had won, and right back Benjamin Pavard slashed in France’s second in the 57th minute — a volleyed goal that was the equal of Di Maria’s stunner — after some nervous moments early in the half.
After pulling even, France simply pulled away. Mbappé restored his team’s lead with the cool of a veteran in the 64th minute, calmly finding space in the area to rip home the go-ahead goal.
The two former champions had met only twice in the World Cups, with the South American side winning both of them.
Starting XI: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernández; Mbappé, Kanté, Pogba, Matuidi; Griezmann, Giroud
Bench: Mandanda (GK), Areola (GK), Kimpembe, Rami, Sidibé, Mendy (out), Tolisso, Nzonzi, Lemar, Dembélé, Fekir, Thauvin
Starting XI: Armani; Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Pérez, Mascherano, Banega; Pavón, Messi, Di María
Bench: Guzmán (GK), Caballero (GK), Ansaldi, Fazio, Acuña, Salvio, Biglia, Meza, Lo Celso, Higuaín, Agüero, Dybala