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France fries Argentina out of World Cup

Lionel Messi failed to glitter for La Albiceleste

France became the first side to progress to the quarter-final of the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Russia after beating 2014 finalists Argentina 4-3 at the Kazan Arena.

The first Round of 16 game saw the Europeans facing the South Americans in only their third meeting in the history of the tournament, the 1998 champions losing the previous encounters.

But they started more aggressively with Paris-Saint Germain forward Kylian Mbappe becoming a mouthful for the Argentine defence.

Little wonder an infringement against him in the South American goal area after just 10 minutes of play resulted in a penalty, which was clinically finished by 2018 Europa League winner Antoine Griezmann.

But Argentina made their dominant possession count later in the first half after France-based Angel Di Maria caught Hugo Iloris unawares with a stunning 25-yard strike.

The goal may have given the two-time champions the needed fillip as they continued to dominate play into the break.

After a seeming silent showing in the game, captain Lionel Messi’s feeble shot accidentally caught the foot of Gabriel Mercado in a heavy deflection to beat the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper.

But the French clawed back into the game with an astonishing back-of-the-foot strike from Benjamin Pavard.

The Group C winners never looked back as Mbappe scored two goals to put the game beyond Jorge Sampaoli’s side.

Substitute Sergio Kun Aguero connected to a Messi cross with a late header to reduce the deficit but it was too little too late as the French marched into the quarter-final.

They await the winner of the Uruguay-Portugal tie.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana

 

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