We now know the first two nations that have qualified for the quarter-finals. Let’s review how it happened.
Match 1: France v Argentina (4-3)
Argentina started the brighter of the two sides but it was France who took the lead after just 13 minutes. The French found Argentina wanting on the counter attack and Marcus Rojo had to drag down Kylian Mbappe in the box to stop an almost certain goal. Antoine Griezmann stepped up to take the spot kick and he continued his record of never missing a penalty while representing his country.
Mbappe’s pace continued to cause Argentina problems but just before half time, Argentina equalised. Out of absolutely nowhere, Angel Di Maria decided to strike the ball with his left foot from 30 yards out and the ball curled just out of the goalkeeper’s reach to find the top corner.
That goal seemed to give Argentina momentum as just 3 minutes into the second half they were in front. Messi’s shot took a deflection off Mercado and that wrong-footed Hugo Lloris in the French goal to make the score 1-2.
Then out of nowhere, France blitzed the Argentines with three quick-fire goals. The first of which was a beauty. A cross in from the left hand side fell all the way to Benjamin Pavard, just outside the box, who rocketed the ball into the top corner on the half volley.
Then a few moments later the French were ahead through Kylian Mbappe. The ball fell nicely to the teenager after a scramble in the penalty box and he slotted the ball into the back of the net. Mbappe bagged his brace just minutes later when Olivier Giroud poked the ball through to Mbappe on the overlap and he once again found the back of the net.
There was a little bit of a fight back from Argentina after Sergio Aguero made it 4-3 in added time. Messi’s beautifully weighted lobbed pass found Aguero at the back post who nodded the ball in to make it a nervous finish for France.
France now move onto the quarter-finals and Lionel Messi will probably end his career having never won the FIFA World Cup.
Match 2: Uruguay v Portugal (2-1)
Despite Portugal dominating in every statistical category, it was Uruguay who sent Ronaldo and co home.
Edinson Cavani put Uruguay in front inside the opening ten minutes. He played a one-two with Luis Suarez who was standing on the opposite wing to him. Cavani switched the play to Suarez who then floated the ball into the danger area and found Cavani again, who caressed the ball with the side of his face into the net.
Uruguay hadn’t conceded a goal all tournament until Pepe equalised for Portugal. He was unmarked in the box and was able to head the ball home from close range in the 55th minute.
Portugal’s lead didn’t last too long as Cavani put Uruguay back in front just seven minutes later. From a goal kick, the ball was headed down and it found its way to Cavani on the overlap who steered his shot past the Portugese goalkeeper.
Both teams had good chances to score late on but the game finished 2-1 to the 1930 World Cup winners. However, they say everything comes with a price and the result has cost Uruguay Edinson Cavani. Uruguay’s star striker limped off the pitch clutching his hamstring and he is now a doubt for the quarter-finals.
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