Lionel Messi and his Argentina teammates who narrowly escaped being ousted from the first round of the World Cup against Nigeria are set for a fresh crunch battle.
The World Cup knockout stages get underway as heavyweights France and Argentina go head-to-head at the Kazan Arena.
While Argentina scraped through to the knockout stages finishing as runners-up to Croatia, Les Bleus, came top of Group C after two wins and a draw.
The winner of today’s bout will play either Uruguay or Portugal in the quarter-finals on Friday, July 6 at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.
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Kickoff is 3pm
France Starting XI : Lloris, Hernandez, Umtiti, Varane, Pavard, Kante, Pogba, Matuidi, Griezmann, Mbappe, Giroud
Argentina Starting XI: Armani, Mercado, Tagliafico, Mascherano, Rojo, Otamendi, Banega, Di Maria, Perez, Pavon, Messi
France get the game underway
Argentina dominating early proceedings… Ball possession: France: 39%, Argentina: 61%.
Free kick for France in a dangerous position from 25 yards
Pogba… Griezman plan for the kick
CHANCE!! A magnificent strike from Griezmann rattles the cross bar… France almost getting the lead
A penalty for France… The Iranian referee points to the spot
Kylian Mbappe wins the spot-kick after a dashing run into the Argentina box
Marcos Rojo gets a yellow card
GOAL!!!! Griezmann gives France the lead in the 13th minute from the spot
Two goals now for Griezmann at Russia 2018 both coming from the penalty spot
Interestingly, France has never lost once Griezmann scores for them
Argentina win a corner kick at the left flank as they seek to get back into the game
Mbappe brought down again just outside the box this time
The pace of the 19-year old causing lot of problems for the ageing Argentina defenders
Argentina quite lucky as the free kick is just six inches outside the penalty box
Pogba blasts the ball over the wall and the bar… Goal kick to Argentina
SAVE.. Hugo Lloris stops a chance by Argentina
Argentina have enjoyed 69% of the ball possession so far compared to France’s 31%
Mercardo appeals for handball against France Umtiti but referee waves that aside
Giroud fails with his ball control and Argentina makes a quick clearance from their box
So far Lionel Messi has been quiet… too early to say it is over for the Barcelona man
Mbappe unable to dribble past his marker after receiving a good pass from Pogba
FREE KICK .. Mascherano brings down Pogba…
France have never lost in the Round of 16 .. at the last World Cup in Brazil, they beat Nigeria
Giroud and Otamendi in a clash of studs
Messi goes down in the penalty box but no penalty for Argentina
Almost… Giroud jumps high but fails to get the connecting header
GOALLLLL!! Angel de Maria with a stunning goal
This is Di Maria’s second ever World Cup goal
France 1-1 Argentina
Mascherano gets a yellow card .. He would miss the quarter-final if Argentina progress
Two minuted added time
Argentina pass from the center circle as we resume for the second half
Bright start by the Argentines
Great skill from Angel Di Maria as he dribbles past his opponents
GOAL…. Argentina in front
Mercado is the goal scorer
Kante hacked down as he surges forward to help France… Free kick for Les Bleu
CHANCE… mistake by Argentina defender and Griezmann almost makes the most of it
GOALLLL!! Pavard puts France level
The right-back spins in the ball… maiden goal for Pavard
GOALLLL !! Mbappe gets his name on the scorers’ sheet
Anguish for Messi and Co.
Argentina SuB: Kun Aguero comes in for Enzo Perez
Another goal for Mbappe
France in control
70′ Mins Argentina 2- 4 France
Side netting by Giroud as France look to extend their lead
French man Matuidi gets a yellow card and misses the next match
Pavard also get a yellow card
France Sub Blaise Matuidi replaced by Corentin Tolisso
Di Maria tries to lob the ball into the France box but cleared
Fekir in for Griezmann
Messi tries a shot from close range but the ball goes straight into Lloris hands
Aguero with his chance also but also blocked
Free kick by Argentina easily cut out
Mbappe finally takes his leave as Thauvin comes in
Four minutes added time
GOAL!! Aguero pulls one back
Otamendi and Giroud get yellow cards
Nearly but all over
Full-Time: Argentina 3-4 France
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