MX23RW : Monday, October 14 11:17:57| >> :600:39671596:39671596:
Jun 30, 2018 at 3pm UK at ​Kazan Arena
Attendance: 42,873
France
4-3
Argentina
Griezmann (13' pen.), Pavard (57'), Mbappe (64', 68')
FT(HT: 1-1)
di Maria (41'), Mercado (48'), Aguero (90')

Live Commentary: France 4-3 Argentina - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage as France edge a seven-goal thriller with Argentina to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Live Commentary: France 4-3 Argentina - as it happened
© Reuters
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France have earned a place in the World Cup quarter-finals with a 4-3 victory over Argentina in Saturday's clash in Kazan.

Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring from the spot but Angel Di Maria and Gabriel Mercado netted either side of the break to give Argentina the advantage.

However, Benjamin Pavard and a double from Kylian Mbappe gave France control and although Sergio Aguero scored in the third minute of added-on time, it proved to be too little too late for Jorge Sampaoli's side.

Find out how all of the action unfolded in Russia courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.


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Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the World Cup last-16 tie between France and Argentina. While their performances have not necessarily showed it, a contest between these two nations would not look out of place in the final and this tournament will lose one of its big guns today.

Before we move onto the build-up for this game, let's bring you some team news, starting with the 1998 winners...

FRANCE XI: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez; Kante, Pogba; Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi; Giroud

ARGENTINA XI: Armani; Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Mascherano, Perez, Bangea; Di Maria, Pavon, Messi

Let's start with France as Didier Deschamps opts to make as many as six changes to the team which started the goalless draw with Denmark. Deschamps decided to rest players for that game so the likes of Hugo Lloris and Paul Pogba have been brought back into the side.

Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud have kept their places in attack but both Thomas Lemar and Ousmane Dembele are back on the bench with Blaise Matuidi and Kylian Mbappe being recalled to the first XI.

Djibril Sidibe, Presnel Kimpembe and Steven N'Zonzi also miss out as Benjamin Pavard and Samuel Umtiti come back into the team. Many had expected Sidibe to feature ahead of Pavard at right-back but Deschamps has gone with the youngster.

On the opposite flank, Lucas Hernandez makes his fourth start of the competition after Benjamin Mendy was ruled out with a muscle injury. It is unclear whether the Manchester City man will return for the quarter-finals, should France progress that far.

Let's turn our attention to Argentina as Jorge Sampaoli opts against naming an unchanged starting lineup. He is yet to do that during his reign. However, there is just one change to the team which beat Nigeria so maybe Sampaoli should be praised for that...

That alteration sees Cristian Pavon preferred to Gonzalo Higuain in attack. Higuain failed to make an impact against Nigeria and his exclusion had been expected, but it had appeared likely that Sergio Aguero would come back into the team. Pavon is yet to score in eight outings.

We think that Argentina are going to line up in a 4-3-3 formation with Enzo Perez keeping his place in the starting lineup having overcome a minor injury. Angel Di Maria will feature in the final third alongside Pavon and Lionel Messi.

Five of Sampaoli's first XI are currently one yellow card away from a suspension. They are Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Otamendi, Javier Mascherano, Ever Banega and Messi.

This is the first of two fixtures being played today and the winners of this tie will go on to play either Uruguay or Portugal, which begins at 7pm, BST.

Deschamps has been speaking about the need to keep Messi quiet in this game. It sounds like common sense to us, but click here to read the France boss's thoughts in full.

Goalkeeper and captain Lloris has also encouraged his teammates to 'go and play beyond their limits'. France have looked too reserved in their previous matches so Lloris's rallying call could stand them in good stead.

In their previous three games, France have only netted one clear-cut goal. The penalty against Australia was contentious to say the least while the own goal - which proved to be their winner - was as fortunate as they come. The effort against Peru had a touch of class about it, but there is definitely more to come.

That said, we should also praise their defensive record. The only goal which has been conceded is Mile Jedinak's spot kick for Australia.

This stat surprised us, and probably will you, too. France are unbeaten in their last eight matches against South American opposition at World Cups. Their last defeat came against Argentina in 1978.

Deschamps takes charge of his 80th match as boss of the national team today, moving past the previous longest-serving record of Raymond Domenech. Since 2012, 45 wins and 15 draws have been recorded.

Let's turn our attention to Argentina, who have reached the last 16 for the 12th time in 13 attempts. The only time that they failed to do so came in 2002.

You're probably not expecting a lot of goals from this game and history also suggests that we could be in for a tight encounter. Just three goals - from either team - have been scored in Argentina's last four knockout fixtures at this tournament.

A penalty shootout feels a real possibility today and these two teams have been involved in nine between them. Argentina have won four from five and France two from four.

Argentina also have a knack of taking matches to extra time. When they reached the final four years ago, three of their knockout fixtures went past the first 90 minutes.

A player who could be introduced in the final quarter of the game - and may have even started this fixture - is Juventus' Paulo Dybala. However, surprisingly, the attacker is still looking for his first goal in an Argentina short with no strikes coming from 13 outings.

PREDICTION! This match has got a low-scoring draw and penalties written all over it, despite the quality in both teams. We expect Argentina to build on their victory over Nigeria but we are backing France to progress on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

HEAD TO HEAD! Saturday's showdown will represent the 12th meeting between these two nations, with Argentina recording six victories and France prevailing on just the two occasions.

Their first clash came at the first World Cup in 1930, while two matches have taken place since France emerged victorious in a friendly in 1986.

Argentina have won the last two fixtures on French soil, with a 1-0 victory being recorded in Paris in 2007 and a 2-0 triumph coming in Marseille in 2009.

It's time for the two teams to start making their way out in Kazan.Temperatures have been warmer earlier in this tournament but it is still a toasty 28C today.

A reminder of the two starting lineups...

FRANCE XI: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez; Kante, Pogba; Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi; Giroud

ARGENTINA XI: Armani; Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Mascherano, Perez, Bangea; Di Maria, Pavon, Messi


KICKOFF! France get us underway in Kazan!

As you would expect, the tackles are already flying in from either side and it has resulted in both teams having already conceded possession to the other. A lively start.

The first tackle on Messi leads to a free kick being given but Matuidi made very little contact with the Barcelona maestro, who rolled around when he didn't need to.

Argentina have certainty started the better of the two teams. A fine ball through the France defence finds Di Maria but the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder's delivery into the box is poor and the opening is lost.

We are still waiting for the first shot on goal but it's been a high-octane start. France could be getting an effort away here, however, as Mascherano fouls Mbappe on the edge of the area.

WOODWORK! What an effort this is from Griezmann. He looks too close to get this up and down with power, but he does just that and strikes the angle between post and bar. Armani barely moved.

PENALTY TO FRANCE! If you have ever wondered why Mbappe is worth so much money, you have just found out. The youngster surges forward from the halfway line, running past two players and then getting hauled down by Rojo, who is promptly booked.

GOAL! France 1-0 Argentina (Antoine Griezmann)

Griezmann steps up and waits for Armani to move before slotting the ball down the centre. Argentina have work to do because their lack of pace at the back has already been exposed.

Argentina find themselves in a position where they probably want to push France back into their own half but the backline cannot afford to step up too much. They have now been warned.

Argentina have spent the last couple of minutes on the ball but they have not done a whole lot doing it. France are prepared to sit deep and wait for the mistake.

BOOKING! Tagliafico picks up a yellow for tripping Mbappe right on the edge of the area. It looked a penalty at first glance but a free kick is the correct decision. It comes after an exquisite long ball from Pogba which released Mbappe behind the defence.

SHOT! Pogba is arguably too close and goes for sheer power. The ball ends up several yards over the crossbar.

Argentina win a corner - which comes to nothing - but this game feels there for the taking for France. Argentina look terrible at the back and it is not the first time that we have said that during this tournament.

While France look a threat going forward, we haven't seen anything of Giroud. It's been all about the pace and trickery of Mbappe and Giroud.

Nearly a second for France. Griezmann does well down the right and gets to the byline but his low cross is claimed by Armani.

Mercado thinks that Argentina should be given a penalty after a cross hits Umtiti on the hand, but the referee says no. It's probably not enough for a spot kick but I am surprised that VAR was not used.

Playing on the break suits France down to a tee and when Mbappe receives the ball on the right-hand side of the penalty area, you expect a goal. However, Tagliafico stays big and makes an excellent tackle.

It's France's turn to spend some time on the ball. I think Argentina are content to take a bit of a breather. Matuidi latches onto a ball down the left but eventually fouls Otamendi.

Otamendi does four rolls along the floor after a coming together with Giroud. It's disgraceful and the referee just looks embarrassed. Giroud is also down and receiving treatment.

Griezmann gets back to make a superbly-timed tackle on Messi inside the penalty area. It's not often that you write that. Otamendi breaks forward and then dives again after he is challenged.

Argentina are threatening more than they have been but they are still struggling to get any kind of a shot away. Messi has barely been involved in a threatening position.

Argentina win a corner kick on the right but the inswinging delivery is superbly flicked away by Pavard. He's having his best game of the tournament.

GOAL! France 1-1 Argentina (Angel Di Maria)

WOW! We have just witnessed the goal of the tournament so far, surely. There appears no danger when Di Maria picks up the ball around 30 yards out but the playmaker takes a touch and sends a rocket of a shot into the top corner. Stunning.

BOOKING! Mascherano goes flying into a tackle on Kante and is deservedly booked. He is out of any quarter-final.

There will be two minutes of added-on time.

FULL TIME: France 1-1 Argentina

The half-time whistle goes in Kazan and we are on level terms after a thoroughly-engaging half of football. The shot count may be low but from an entertainment perspective, that was captivating.

France's goal came from the spot with Griezmann slotting the ball into the centre of the goal but Mbappe deserves all of the credit for showing a burst of pace which highlighted Argentina's lack of speed in defensive areas. It was a silly challenge from Rojo but it showed what Argentina need to do in order to haul the attacker.

Argentina have barely created anything of note inside of the final third with Messi ineffective, but Di Maria's outrageous 30-yard strike has got his team back on level terms. The 30-year-old had also done little in the opening half but his left-foot thunderbolt has changed this match.

Argentina are making a change but it is not the one that you were expecting. Federico Fazio is being introduced for Rojo.

KICKOFF! Argentina get us back underway.

Di Maria now looks like a man full of confidence. Amazing what a goal can do, isn't it? The winger weaves between several players before being hauled down by Pavard.

GOAL! France 1-2 Argentina (Gabriel Mercado)

Just like that, Argentina take the lead! There is some fortunate to it. The free kick is half-cleared to Messi and after turning on the edge of the box, Messi scuffs a shot towards goal. However, it takes a deflection off Mercado and goes into the bottom corner.

BOOKING! This is pure stupidity. Banega lunges into a tackle with Mbappe and deservedly picks up a booking. That's Mascherano and Banega out of any quarter-final.

I will be very surprised if Argentina end this game with 11 men. They are struggling to find a balance between showing desire and keeping their discipline.

Yet another ridiculous challenge from an Argentina player as Perez dives into Kante. He's lucky to avoid a yellow but it is a free kick in a threatening area for France.

Even if Argentina net a third, I wouldn't write France off in this match. They are managing their emotions and their energy levels, unlike Argentina. They also have all three substitutions available.

Fazio - you lucky, lucky boy. There is a mix up between the centre back and Armani, with Fazio hitting a back-pass behind the goalkeeper, but the defender gets back to save a certain goal ahead of Griezmann.

GOAL! France 2-2 Argentina (Benjamin Pavard)

Forget Di Maria's goal, Pavard has just topped it! A cross from the left went all the way through to the young full-back on the edge of the area and he has directed a swerving volley into the far corner of the net. It's a sensational hit, much like Nacho's for Spain against Portugal.

What a game we have on our hands! I expected this to be tight and nervy but we are being treated. There are more goals to come too.

We are having a bit of a lull in the action. I think that everyone is stunned by that goal from Pavard. It was his first for his country too.

Argentina are starting to look a little flat. They are no longer showing the energy and commitment to tackles and France are being allowed to do what they want with the ball.

GOAL! France 3-2 Argentina (Kylian Mbappe)

France take the lead! A cross is only half-cleared to Mbappe, who once again shows a quick turn a pace before getting a shot away. It's from an acute angle and well-struck, but his low effort goes under Armani and into the net. What a game!

SUBSTITUTION! It's Aguero time. The Manchester City striker replaces Perez.

GOAL! France 4-2 Argentina (Kylian Mbappe)

Game over, surely. France put together a lovely team move and it ends with Giroud playing a pass through to Mbappe, who runs onto the ball and powers a low shot into the far corner of the net.

SHOT! More and more space is opening up in the Argentina defence and Giroud is teed up to score a fifth for France. However, he slices a volley wide of the near post. Difficult chance.

BOOKING! Matuidi has gone into the book for something. I have no reason what. However, it is significant because he will now be suspended for the last eight.

SUBSTITUTION! A change for both teams with Meza replacing Pavon for Argentina and Tolisso coming on for Matuidi for France.

That is a sign that Deschamps has decided to tighten things up with less than 15 minutes to go. Longs ball to Mbappe and Griezmann are going to be the order of the day.

I've said it before but again, Argentina remain flat. France are in full control and are prepared to remain patient for another opportunity. Based on this performance, they could take some stopping.

CHANCE! Half a chance for Argentina as Messi finds Meza on the right-hand side of the box but the substitute's cross is deflected into the hands of Lloris.

SUBSTITUTION! France make a second change with Fekir coming on to replace Griezmann.

CHANCE! We are nearly treated to a wonderful individual goal from Messi. The forward maneuvers his way past two France defenders before getting the opportunity to shoot on goal from 14 yards out but he miscues his effort straight at Lloris.

Argentina are starting to press forward but it is all too little too late. There is no danger of an Argentina comeback here.

SUBSTITUTION! France's third change sees Thauvin introduced in place of Mbappe. Take a bow.

There will be four minutes of added-on time.

GOAL! France 4-3 Argentina (Sergio Aguero)

Hello! Messi delivers an outrageous cross into the penalty area and Aguero sends a header inside of the near post from six yards out.

FULL TIME: France 4-3 Argentina

After a mass brawl which saw a number of yellow cards, the full-time whistle finally goes and France can celebrate a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup courtesy of a 4-3 victory. Mbappe was the star of the show with two goals and an assist for the opening penalty but this performance from Les Bleus was a step up from their previous efforts in this tournament. Argentina are on their way home despite finding the back of the net on three occasions.

That will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us today and we hope that you can return for the fixture between Uruguay and Portugal later this evening.

If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.


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Argentina's Lionel Messi in action against Nigeria on June 26, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool88002061424
2Manchester CityMan City85122791816
3Arsenal84311311215
4Leicester CityLeicester8422147714
5Chelsea84221814414
6Crystal Palace842288014
7Burnley8332119212
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham83321111012
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs83231412211
10Bournemouth83231313011
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves82421111010
12Manchester UnitedMan Utd82339819
13Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd82337709
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8233810-29
15Aston Villa8224131218
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8224513-88
17Southampton8215815-77
18Everton8215613-77
19Norwich CityNorwich82061021-116
20Watford8035420-163

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