AGONAsport World Cup Daily Recap: France And Uruguay Advance After Epic Encounters
France and Uruguay progressed after coming through two superb matches in the first knockout stage games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Day 17 saw the Round of 16 begin in Russia and if these matches are anything to go by then the world is in for some amazing football in the coming days. France took the lead, gave it up, then had to come from behind to defeat Argentina 4-2. Uruguay meanwhile, did not have many chances, but took the ones they did have to advance past Portugal 2-1. The results mean that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both exit, potentially their last World Cup each, on the same day. Winners France and Uruguay will now meet in the quarter-finals at the Nizhny Novograd Stadium on Friday.
Argentina v France 2-4
Kylian Mbappe became the first teenager since Pele in 1958 to net a brace at the World Cup as France downed Argentina 4-2. The 19-year-old won a penalty in the 11th minute which Antoine Griezmann converted to give France the 1-0 lead. Didier Deschamps’ team could have added to their advantage in the first half, but Argentina slowly grew into the game. Four minutes from time, Angel Di Maria powered a wonderful long-range strike for Jorge Sampaoli’s team to make it 1-1.
After the break, Argentina looked to have the momentum and within three minutes they were up 2-1 as Lionel Messi’s shot deflected off of Gabriel Mercado and found the net. The South Americans’ joy was short-lived though as three goals in a 11-minute span (57’-68’) saw France turn the match on its head again. Benjamin Pavard scored a beautiful half-volley from outside the area to level before Mbappe struck twice in four minutes to make it 4-2.
Argentina tried to find a way back, but the only thing they could do was pull one back through Sergio Aguero in injury-time. Then with the last kick of the match they missed an incredible chance to make it 4-4 as France were left to celebrate.
Match Rating - 9: An epic Round of 16 match that featured some absolutely fantastic goals. A double comeback saw France come out with a deserved win, but Argentina, as disjointed as they seemed at times, made a match of it and were right there still with a chance to tie at the death.
Portugal v Uruguay 1-2
Edinson Cavani scored a memorable brace as Uruguay came through a pulsating last 16 match with Portugal 2-1. A fine long-range give-and-go between Luis Suarez and Cavani saw Uruguay take the lead thanks to Cavani’s header in the 7th minute. It was back-and-forth action for the rest of the half with both sides having opportunities.
Portugal came out after the half with renewed purpose and a period of sustained pressure saw them rewarded with an equalizer. Pepe’s 55th minute header made it 1-1 after a Raphael Guerreiro corner. Uruguay responded quickly though and took the lead again seven minutes later. If his first was about aerial power, Cavani’s second was about silky smooth finishing as he met Rodrigo Bentancur’s pass first-time curling it into the net past Rui Patricio from distance.
Portugal dominated the final 25 minutes laying siege to the Uruguayan backline. It says something of the rearguard action of Oscar Tabarez’s men that they weren’t seriously threatened barring a couple anxious moments from crosses into the box.
Match Rating - 7.5: This may not have hit the heights of Argentina-France, but this was a very good match in its own right. Uruguay were clinical in attack and committed and strong at the back. Portugal had plenty of intent, but the ideas seemed to be lacking at the end when a goal was needed.
Fernando Santos led Portugal to the Round of 16, however the former Greek national team manager was unable to bring his country to the last eight of the World Cup. The 63-year-old coach saw his side go down 2-1 to Uruguay.
GOAL OF THE DAY
So many to pick from the 10 goals today, there were some absolutely magnificent strikes. We will go with the long range give-and-go between Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez which ended with a pinpoint cross from the latter for the former to thunderously head home for Uruguay’s opener.
- Kylian Mbappe brace leads France past Argentina 4-2
- Cavani double sees Uruguay past Portugal
- Messi and Ronaldo exit World Cup on the same day
- Uruguay and France set to meet in quarter-final next Friday
LOOKING AHEAD TO TOMORROW
Spain will be the favorites as they take on hosts Russia in Sunday’s early kick-off. Later in the day, it’s Croatia against Denmark for a spot in the quarter-finals