Wow! What a match. The score line at the end of it looks like a nail biter, to be honest it was not. However it was tense for sure.
It started with a penalty, a direct result of the Argentine back not able to contain the explosive speed of Mbappe. Greizmann slotted in a good penalty for France to take lead 1 – 0.
All was ok as the match had only just begun, but it made two things evident immediately. Mbappe was too fast for the Argentine defence, and it was clear that overall Argentina had a weak defence. This came to fore almost immediately when one more foul was drawn by Mbappe but luckily for Argentina it was at the edge of the box. Further Greizmann’s beautiful free kick rattled the bar giving a lifeline to Argentina.
France 1 – 0 Argentina
The rest of the first half was underscoring the French game, with decent defence and great counter attacks. Till Di Maria conjured up a goal out of nowhere, a fantastic curving rocket of a ball. Could have been the goal of the night if it was not for what was to follow. At least it helped Argentina to go into half time equal at 1-1.
France 1 – 1 Argentina
Argentina made a change which was confusing and I don’t think it really helped. If anything it seems to confuse the back even more.
Within 5 mins finally we saw a Messi kick. To be honest while timely it might have gone straight to the goalkeeper if not for a struggling Mercado trying to get his leg out of the way, failing but providing just the right deflection for the ball to go into the French net. Messi was not complaining and Argentina had their hopes up again with 2-1 lead.
France 1 – 2 Argentina
And then came a great goal followed by a force of nature against an useless defence.
First a fantastic curving half volley from Benjamin Pavard. I believe his first world cup goal ever and at what a time. Beautiful one that.
France 2 – 2 Argentina.
Then Argentina sleep at the back and basically allow Mbappe a free way to attack the Argentine goal. This after the defence almost gave away a goal by kicking it beyond Armani just a few minutes ago. Well Mbappe was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth again, and easily scored, taking France ahead 3-2
France 3-2 Argentina.
And then again Argentina could make no impact and France counter attacked well. And Mbappe again created a chance and scored. Armani could have probably stopped the ball with his legs but the question is what was the defence doing?
France 4-2 Argentina
In principle Argentina still have a chance as the time was just 68′. Also Aguero was finally in the game (god knows why he was not starting) However watching the game it felt like Los Albicelestes and Messi did not seem to be effective. So as an Argentina supporter it was a painful 30 mins or so when Argentina was ineffectual in scoring.
In the 3rd minute of extra time we finally see some magic with Messi kicking a beautiful pass to the front and Aguero slipping past the defence to head it in. GOOOAL! A beautiful goal, but would it be too little too late?
France 4-3 Argentina
A miracle almost happened in the final seconds with the ball going tantalizingly close to the goal, but it was not to be. Argentina is out and Messi’s world cup journeys are done. The coach and the team have a lot to answer too, and their fans surely deserve to know why many of the decisions were taken.
However for anyone watching the entire match it was very clear that the better team won. In fact France played solidly enough that they could go the whole way if they continue to play like this.
As a football fan it was a great match to watch for sure. Just feel sad for the Argentinian fans as they would surely have expected much more. Though the early fouls made me feel like it might be a very physical match, it turned out to be a much more fluid encounter with a lot for football fans to enjoy.