World Cup: France 4 Argentina 3 - 5 things you need to know

France's forward Antoine Griezmann (centre) vies with Argentina's goalkeeper Franco Armani (left) and Argentina's defender Federico Fazio during the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between France and Argentina at the Kazan Arena in K
France's forward Antoine Griezmann (centre) vies with Argentina's goalkeeper Franco Armani (left) and Argentina's defender Federico Fazio during the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between France and Argentina at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 30, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

This was a game that had goals and drama in abundance as France and Argentina played out a seven-goal thriller that ultimately led to the end of Lionel Messi's World Cup dream as Les Bleus won 4-3.

The Albiceleste thought they had swung things around when they took a 2-1 lead early in the second-half but a three-goal blast in 11 minutes, led by Kylian Mbappe, left Argentina bloodied and bruised on the canvas in the end. The defeat is likely to draw the curtains on Messi's international career but while a great player departs, a new player looks ready to be elevated to be a future Ballon d'Or winner.

1. Goals

France (Antoine Griezmann 13th minute penalty, Benjamin Pavard 57th, Kylian Mbappe 64th and 68th) Argentina (Angel di Maria 41st, Gabriel Mercado 48th)

2. The wow moment

There was no danger when goalkeeper Hugo Lloris rolled the ball out of his box in the 68th min but mere seconds later, Olivier Giroud bisected the Argentina defence with a killer through ball for the onrushing Mbappe to power home. That was attacking football at its finest and Argentina could not find a way back after that.

3. The talking point

It can never be taken away what Messi had achieved in football. His record at Barcelona is nothing but phenomenal and he led Argentina to a World Cup final and three Copa America finals.

But he will be 35 by the time of the 2022 Qatar tournament and this game in Kazan could be his last. He took a very ordinary Argentina team this far. Its defence was not up to scratch, conceding nine goals in four games in Russia. Its team spirit questionable with tales of a players' mutiny and coach Jorge Sampaoli never quite able to find the best tactics to extract the best out of his talented attackers.

Messi has probably reached the end of the line for his country and he is likely to focus on breaking more records with Barcelona. Right now, he has to reconcile himself with the fact that football's biggest trophy has eluded him.

4. The star

Argentina simply could not live with Mbappe's warp speed and skill. The youngster utterly struck fear in the Argentina defence and the only way to stop him is to foul him. That led to the penalty opener and Mbappe himself scored the last two goals. In many ways, his style of play reminds us of a young Brazilian Ronaldo. The 19-year-old becomes the second teenager to score two goals in one game at the World Cup. The first? Some guy called Pele in 1958.

5. What the result means

Argentina are out of the World Cup after moments of brilliance are overshadowed by a bungling defence. It is shocking that a team with Messi, di Maria, Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Paolo Dybala is unbalanced by a shaky backline. Sampaoli probably will not last that much longer in the dugout. France, on the other hand, march into the quarter-finals to face either Portugal or Uruguay.

Regardless of who they face, Didier Deschamps men have struck form. Paul Pogba is finally imposing himself in midfield. N'Golo Kante's work-rate is exceptional. Giroud is a good focal point in attack to lay on chances for the dangerous Griezmann. In goal, Lloris is an assuring presence as are Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane. And finally, there is Mbappe.