As it happened: Mbappe magic sees France through as Argentina head home

As it happened: Mbappe magic sees France through as Argentina head home

Connor Bennett
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FT: Anyway, that's it from me - Connor Bennett - for today. VAVEL UK will be back with the second game of the day, Portugal vs Uruguay, later today. Please tune and we'll see you, next time!

FT: It'll take a lot to overshadow that as the game of the tournament. As one of the greatest players ever seemingly bows out of the international game, a new star rises. It was all about Kylian Mbappe this afternoon, the PSG man was absolutely brilliant. 

FT: However, that is it. The referee blows up for full-time. Argentina are out. Heartbreak on the faces on the players and fans in the Kazan Arena but complete joy for the French. 

94: And Argentina go close with the last kick of the game! Just over the ball. My word. 

93: There's a foul in the Argentine half by Mercado and a fracas ensues as Otamendia boots the ball out of play. A yellow card for the Manchester City defender and then one for Giroud as he gets involved with the pushing. Few minutes to add on to stoppage time.

92: That is a magical ball from Messi and it is met by a fine header from Aguero. Argentina are one behind now. Is that a lifeline?

92: GOAL! Aguero, 4-3!

90: Four minutes of added time signalled by the fourth official.

88: The Marseille man replaces the surefire Man of the Match, Mbappe. 

87: Florentin Thauvin being readied for his competitive French debut. 

84: Fekir loses out to Mascherano in midfield and the loose ball finds its way to Messi. He glides forward and dinks the ball around Varane before heading around him on the opposite side. Messi retrieves the ball and tries to strike it goalwards but he's off balance and can't strike it cleanly. 

82: Substitution for France. Griezmann is replaced by Nabil Fekir. 

80: Argentina are searching for a moment of Messi magic but the little genius is fouled and looks angered, almost in despair of what has happened here. 

77: Pavard has been almightily criticised since the start of this tournament but he has been a stand-out player this afternoon. Troubled at times in defence but has a real coolness about him when he gets on the ball and goes forward. 

75: A change for each side. Pavon is replaced by Maxi Meza for Argentina whilst Matuidi is replaced by Corentin Tolisso for France. 

73: Yellow Card for Benjamin Pavard.

72: France looked laboured in their two group wins. The all-change side was awful in the draw with Denmark but when they play like this there may be no answer for them. They are buzzing. 

70: Pogba breaks through and makes his way to the edge of the 18-yard-box. He picks out a pass to Giroud but the forward mishits his shot and only finds the side-netting. France are lining up to add more goals. 

68: That could be game over. Argentina over the place at the back as France play through Giroud. A wonderfully timed pass from the big forward finds Mbappe and he nails his shot across Armani to double the lead for his nation. 

67: IT'S 4-2 France. Mbappe again!

65: Substitution for Argentina. Enzo Perez is off and on comes Sergio Aguero as Messi stands over a free-kick just outside the French area. 

63: This game has exploded into life and the player of the first-half has finally turned up in the second-half. A scramble in the box falls to Mbappe, he takes a touch to get himself wide before shooting low across the box. Armani makes a hash of it and the ball trickles home. 

63: MBAPPE. 3-2 France!

60: If you can't watch this game, you have to see the highlights. Two absolutely delightful goals. 

57: Hernandez's cross evades everyone in the box but finds it's way to Benjamin Pavard on the edge of the box. Without a second thought, the full-back strikes it and nails his shot past an outstretched Armani. All level again in Kazan!

56: Well, well, well. What a game for goals. 


55: And as I say that, Fazio tries to let the ball run back to Armani but gets his foot on it and knocks the ball around his own 'keeper. Thankfully for Fazio, the pair are able to guide the ball out of play as Griezmann attempts to knock home an easy leveller. 

54: It's all fallen a bit flat since that goal. France are looking for a way back  into things and Argentina are trying to create out wide in the hopes of getting a third. 

50: Yellow Card for Ever Banega. The influential midfielder would miss the next game if things stay the way they are. 

48: That was the start Argentina needed. The free-kick is cleared to Messi, who spins and direct a shot goalwards, Mercado gets a foot on it and directs it past Lloris. French calls for offside are waved away.

48: GOAL! 2-1 Argentina.

47: Di Maria skips past Pavard and wins a free-kick to the left of the French area. 

46: Not quite sure Argentina will want Fazio to match up with Mbappe all too much. The former Spurs man may have impressed for Roma this season but he isn't the quickest. Although, that could be said for plenty of this Argentine squad.

45: And we are underway for the second-half.

HT: The teams have re-emerged for the second-half and there is a change for Argentina. Rojo is off and he is replaced by Federico Fazio. 

HT: France will be disappointed to be level at the break but a moment of absolute brilliance from Di Maria has changed the energy of the game - and even his own game as he closed out the half on the defensive end. The PSG man won't be all too popular in Paris right now. 

HT: The pace of Mbappe is troubling Argentina but they seemed to have recognised - or at least Nico Tagliafcio has - that they can stand in front of him and not always be chasing his shadow. 

HT: It's half-time in Kazan and wow, what an end to the half. Time for everybody to collect their breath and then go again. 

42: Yellow for Javier Mascherano for a foul on the halfway line. He'll miss the next game if they progress. 

40: I say, Angel Di Maria! He's hit an absolutely unstoppable shot from about 25-yards-out that is arrowed for the top corner of Lloris' net. A real goal of the tournament contender and a lifeline for Argentina. 1-1!


39: Replays just shown of the penalty shout for Argentina. The referee made the correct decision as the tremendous workrate of Griezmann is rewarded through him making a good tackle and not a rash one 

38: Argentina just beginning to ask questions. Messi, who is playing closer to the halfway line than the French box, springs a ball for Mercado who races away - wide - unmarked. His cross evades everyone and Pavard clears. 

36: Messi dinks a one-two with Di Maria and Argentina finally find a way in. The Barcelona man goes down inside the box as his feet get tangled with Griezmann but the referee ignores the shouts of his teammates for a spot-kick. 

34: It's been a lively game as draw towards the last 10 minutes of the half. Argentina struggling to find a way through whilst they struggle with the pace of the French attack at the other end. Another thing for Sampaoli, or whoever is the manager today, to rectify at half-time. 

30: Pogba strides through midfield with ease. Picks a pass out to Mbappe who over does it and runs into Tagliafico, allowing Argentina to clear. 

27: A good reverse ball sees Gabriel Mercado get in behind unmarked. He tries to play the ball across the box but only hits Umtiti. The ball rolls away for a corner but the referee signals for a goal kick. 

25: Argentina have totalled 70% of possession so far during this half. France just happy to let them play and then break using that electric pace of Mbappe. It's worked so far. 

20: Pogba launches the free-kick way over the ball. 

18: France go long with a ball and again, Mbappe like lightning, is on the other end of it. He goes down right on the edge of the box and France have another free-kick in a dangerous area.

16: Argentina win a corner but Di Maria's delivery is pretty poor. France clear but Messi regains possession about halfway inside the French half. The French look content to play on the break. 

12: Griezmann rolls the ball home to Franco's right as the 'keeper goes too early and dives the other way. 1-0 to Les Bleus!

12: GOAL! 1-0 France. 

11: VAR check confirms a penalty and Griezmann will step up.

10: Mbappe strides away from inside his own half as Argentina lose possession. He outpaces everyone before colliding with Marcos Rojo. Argentina's hero from the group stage initiates contact outside the area but ultimately brings the forward down inside it. 


8: And it's off the bar from Griezmaan! An exquisite free-kick beats Franco Armani all ends up in goal but his effort comes back off the bar. So very close to an early goal. 

8: Free-kick to France, just outside the 18-yard-box. Pogba and Griezmann stand over it..

7: With their forward options, France can mix it up with their passing. They can go direct to Giroud and they have done on a few occasions. Something to note for the Argentine backline.

3: Free-kick cleared by Griezmaan but the ball is recycled back to the backline through Pavard. Varane knocks it long to Giroud but he can't continue and loses out. Di Maria springs a counter-attack but his cross is poor.

3: Early free-kick for Argentina just inside the French half. Blaise Matuidi nails Lionel Messi and La Albiceleste will have the chance to put the ball into the box. Ever Banega stands over it. 

2: It's a cagey start so far. France giving Argentina plenty of time on the ball but when they have possession, the Argentines aren't doing much with it. 

The whistle blows and France get us underway. Here we go...

Kick-off isn't too far away now. The World Cup knock-out stages are upon us. 

Not many words to the Argentina anthem but it allows for a really good noise each and every time. The noise today gets Messi going with a wry smile - a different scene to a few weeks ago when he had his head down.

Two really good national anthems on show here. Like, really good. 

Here come the teams...

20 or so minutes to kick-off and Argentina are shown heading out for their warm-ups from a few moments earlier. No surprises, Lionel Messi gives a few words before receiving a few knowing nods. Kick-off draws ever closer. 

Kick-off is an hour away!

So, as expected from both sides. Deschamps brings back those six players who rested against Denmark whilst Sampaoli scraps both of his traditional strikers and flanks Messi with Di Maria and Pavon.

Argentina XI: Armani, Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico, Mascherano, Banega, Perez, Pavon, Di Maria, Messi

France XI: Lloris, Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez, Kante, Pogba, Matuidi, Mbappe, Griezmaan, Giroud 

The official team news is in as we gear up for kick-off!

We won’t have to wait long for the official team news so stick around!

There is also talk that the Argentinian boss may opt to start neither and instead give Messi the ‘false nine’ role - flanked by the rising star of Cristian Pavon and the mercurial Angel Di Maria - that he’s excelled in for years.

For Argentina, well Jorge Sampaoli did not settle on a system during the group stages and could once again make changes. Gonzalo Higuain was less than impressive during the win over Nigeria and could be replaced by Sergio Aguero.

In terms of team selection, France will be without Manchester City full-back Benjamin Mendy because of a muscle injury. He is likely to be replaced by Lucas Hernandez. Didier Deschamps made six changes in the dead rubber against Denmark. Those players - Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Pavard, Samuel Umtiti, Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Mbappe - are all expected to return.

The two last met in the World Cup in 1978, where victory for La Albiceleste saw the beginning of their run to winning the tournament on home soil. They will no doubt take that as a good omen.

Argentina have history on their side though, winning three of the last six meetings between the two nations - with their last triumph coming in 2009.

Both sides will have to be much, much better than they’ve already shown if they want to progress to the quarter-finals and move one step closer to World Cup glory.

Messi’s arrival at the tournament with a wonderful early finish was matched by Marcos Rojo’s late winning goal that sent Argentine fans wild.  Like France, they've gotten to this point and everything is up for grabs - especially when your starting line-up contains the world's best player.

An opening game draw with Iceland was frustrating and Lionel Messi missing a vital penalty only made it tougher to swallow. Then came the dire defeat against Croatia. La Albiceleste were completely embarrassed in Nizhny Novgorod as they suffered a 3-0 defeat. That sparked changes for the decisive meeting with Nigeria, which paid off for boss Jorge Sampaoli.

As for Argentina, well their traumatic Group D escape has been well documented.

The less said about the 0-0 draw with Denmark, the better but the French advanced to this point and now, they have the chance to make their run.

For France, they may have topped Group C without tasting defeat but they made tough work of it. Les Bleus scrapped a 2-1 win in their opening game against Australia with the aid of VAR. Their second game, a 1-0 win over Peru, was laboured. Kylian Mbappe scored the only goal of the afternoon as France, again, looked disjointed.

And as we should have come to expect from this tournament, we’re starting off with a cracker. Two pre-tournament favourites who have both looked unconvincing so far but managed to navigate the group stage in different fashion.

Well, here we are. The World Cup knockout stages. No more second chances, no more hoping for a fair play points decision to fall in your favour - survive and advance.

Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live minute-by-minute match coverage and commentary for the World Cup. Today sees France face off against Argentina at the Kazan Arena in Kazan. This afternoon's game kicks off at 15:00 GMT, but until then - we'll have plenty of pre-match build-up, analysis and live coverage from Connor Bennett. Make sure you keep up with our updates!