France booked their place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup after a thrilling 4-3 victory over Argentina, with teen superstar Kylian Mbappe bagging a superb brace.
The game was billed as Lionel Messi’s last chance for glory on the biggest stage of all, however, the Barcelona star struggled to make an impact in his role as false nine.
The opening goal of the game came on 13 minutes, with Mbappe’s supersonic run from the halfway line ended by Marcos Rojo in the box.
Antoine Griezmann, who had already seen a free-kick effort come back of the bar, coolly slotted home to give Les Bleus the lead.
Argentina were struggling match their European opponents, but then, just before the break, Angel Di Maria produced a long-range wonder-strike out of nowhere to level the scores.
It got even better for Jorge Sampaoli’s side just after the break, with defender Gabriel Mercado directing a Messi shot past Hugo Lloris in the French goal.
Alas for Argentina, less than 10 minutes later, another defender would score a stunner, this time via Benjamin Pavard’s magnificently timed effort from outside the box.
That goal gave Les Blues a deserved lead again and they would extend it soon after, with the effervescent Mbappe marking his world class status with a rapid brace.
Mbappe’s first goal came on 64 minutes, with the PSG striker making room for himself in the box before firing under Franco Armani in the Argentina goal.
Just four minutes later, the 19-year-old would score again, rifling the ball home from a perfectly-weighted Olivier Giroud pass after a break from the French.
That goal also saw Mbappe become the first teenager to score more than one goal in a World Cup match since a lad called Pele.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 30, 2018
Argentina looked dead and buried but at the death, sub Sergio Aguero got one back from the South Americans, heading in from a superb Messi pass.
However, the game would end in a deserved 4-3 win for the French after an utterly thrilling clash which saw one ageing megastar possibly bid farewell to the World Cup while another one introduced himself in fine style.
One negative for French boss Didier Deschamps was the yellow card picked up by the tireless Blaise Matuidi, which sees him miss the quarter-finals.
However, the French will now be confident of going all the way in Russia, with Mbappe at the helm.
As for Argentina, a major re-build of their ageing side is surely needed, with the likes of Paulo Dybala and Giovani Lo Celso waiting in the wings.