France hero Kylian Mbappe plays down Pele comparisons after win over Argentina

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France hero Kylian Mbappe vowed to keep his feet on the ground despite matching a 60-year-old record set by Pele during his side’s sensational 4-3 victory over Argentina in the World Cup‘s last 16.

The 19-year-old’s second half double effectively sealed his side’s progress to the quarter-finals and also made him the first teenager to score two goals in a finals match since the Brazilian great in 1958.

Mbappe said in the post-match press conference: “It’s flattering to be the second one after Pele but let’s put things into context – Pele is in another category.

“But is is good to be amongst these people and to score in knockout matches. At a World Cup you have all the top level players so it is an opportunity to show what you can do and what you’re abilities are.”

Antoine Griezmann’s early penalty put France in front before Argentina replied through a stunning Angel Di Maria strike and a fortunate deflection off Gabriel Mercado either side of the half-time break.

Benjamin Pavard equalised for France before Mbappe’s two strikes around the hour mark turned the match on its head, with Sergio Aguero’s injury time header coming too late for Argentina.

Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano wasted no time in announcing his international retirement after the  game after winning a record 147 caps for his country.

Mascherano told Argentinian TV: “This whole story is over, and from now on I am a fan of the Argentine team, and I hope these guys can win something in the future.”

Beleaguered Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli is likely to have any decision on his own future taken out of his hands, but he cut a defiant figure in the wake of his side’s defeat.

“This is very painful, especially because the players have made a huge effort,” said Sampaoli, who is widely reported to have lost influence on his key players since their abysmal 3-0 group stage loss to Croatia.

Sampaoli added: “It was a very difficult game but we have not achieved our goal here in Russia. I’m sad, I’m frustrated – I think that’s quite normal. (But) I won’t decide my future today.”

With Mascherano gone and Lionel Messi also widely believed to be considering his international future, the focus will switch back to a new star of the game in Mbappe.

France boss Didier Deschamps said: “I am very happy for Mbappe and he has a lot of room to make progress. In such an important match he has shown his talent.

“There is an excellent mentality in this group and we did everything to go further.

“I am very proud because they have been preparing for weeks and months. We couldn’t miss it and we didn’t.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo follows Lionel Messi out of the World Cup as he scores a 5 in our Portugal ratings

Matt Jones 1/07/2018
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The 2018 World Cup has seen the back of Cristiano Ronaldo.

It wasn’t to be for Cristiano Ronaldo and Co as European champions Portugal exited at the last 16 stage at the hands of Uruguay, with Ronaldo sent home from the World Cup on the same day as Lionel Messi.

Uruguay edged past Portugal 2-1 as Edinson Cavani’s brace sent the South Americans soaring into the quarter-finals.

Cavani emphatically nodded in a cross from strike partner Luis Suarez. Portugal got back on level terms early in the second half when Pepe headed in Raphael Guerreiro’s hanging cross.

They weren’t level for long though, with Cavani curling Uruguay back in front with a superb effort seven minutes later.

Portugal pushed but with Ronaldo uninspiring, Uruguay doggedly held on.

Here we rate the Portugal players:

PORTUGAL (4-4-2)

Rui Patricio – 5:

Could have done better with Cavani’s header perhaps? Got down well to stop Suarez’s free-kick. Bad positioning for the second Uruguay goal.

Ricardo Pereira – 6:

A surprise starter considering he’d not previously featured. Didn’t let himself or his side down with a committed performance.

Pepe – 6:

Just when it was looking like Uruguay’s defence were unbreachable, Pepe popped up to haul Portugal level. Error led to Cavani winner though.

Jose Fonte – 6:

Doesn’t usually fill you with confidence but was calm and committed. Suarez caused him no end of worry though.

Raphael Guerreiro – 7:

Hasn’t enjoyed the best tournament but had a solid outing and swung in a great cross for the equaliser.

Bernardo Silva – 8:

Had been way below his best in Russia but was on his game here, giving La Celeste plenty of headaches. Poked and probed all night long. A real menace. Should have scored after Muslera’s spill.

Adrien Silva – 5:

Another woeful performance from the Leicester man as he failed to leave any lasting impression on the game before being subbed off.

William Carvalho – 7:

Carvalho did what Carvalho does, goes diligently about his business. He’s a hard man to get off the ball even for Uruguay’s hard-working midfield.

Joao Mario – 7:

Had quietly his best game of the World Cup. Was strange to see him taken off with minutes remaining as Portugal searched for an equaliser.

Goncalo Guedes – 4:

Brought in after being left out against Iran. Should have been kept out as he again put in another anonymous performance.

Cristiano Ronaldo – 5:

A peripheral figure for much of the night as he stayed largely on the fringes out wide. Disappointingly struggled to impact the game meaningfully.

SUBS:

Ricardo Quresma – 6:

Brought on to see if he could recreate his heroics from Iran game, but it was too little, too late.

Andre Silva – 6:

Brought on as Portugal pressed for a goal, but had little sight of goal.

Manuel Fernandes N/A:

At least tried to spark a revival as he unleashed shots twice from long range.

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Edinson Cavani proves why he's one of the world's best strikers to knock out Portugal

Alex Rea 1/07/2018
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Edinson Cavani scored twice as Uruguay shattered Cristiano Ronaldo’s World Cup dream with a 2-1 victory over Portugal on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Cavani curled home a superb 62nd-minute winner to settle a thrilling second round duel in Sochi which sends Uruguay into a quarter-final against France next Friday.

Cavani had already put Uruguay in front early on, only for Pepe to head Portugal level in the 55th minute in a thrilling contest that was not the battle of attrition many predicted.

Here, we analyse the performance of the star man Cavani.

STATISTICS 

Goals – 2

Assists – 0

Shots – 3

Shots on target – 2

Touches – 31

Aerials won – 2

Dribbles – 1

Dispossessed – 2

30-SECOND REPORT

It’s a rare sight to see deadly duos operate as a side’s spearhead in modern football given the near extinction of 4-4-2, but seeing Cavani wheeling away in celebration is far from unfamiliar as both he and Luis Suarez synchronised superbly to knock out Portugal.

Their telepathic understanding created the opener, a testament to the pair’s elite talent but beyond the skill, their will deeply impressed as the two worked tirelessly all night.

Cavani was the best player on the pitch, though, dropping back to make a midfield five and getting through so much work to cut out Portugal’s options out wide.

While his first goal was an awkward finish, the second was clean and clinical and one hopes the injury which forced him off shortly after isn’t too serious.

GOT RIGHT

Work rate – Put aside the goals for a moment because Cavani put in an immense shift. For such a world-class talent his work rate is phenomenal. To balance an ego and confidence in front of goal with the ability to tirelessly help out his teammates is a unique marriage of attributes.

Finishing – No surprise really given he extracted two goals from three shots. He’s a sharpshooter and arriving in Russia with 38 goals in all competitions he’s carried that form into the tournament.

Master of movement – Cavani is such an underrated striker. His anticipation, timing and angle of runs deserve to be marvelled at. He’s constantly on the move and young strikers should study this master of movement.

KEY MOMENTS

7th min GOAL: The dynamic duo deliver a devastating one-two as Cavani pings a precise ball out to Suarez on the left wing, the Barcelona man tears to the right-hand post and then delivers a cracking cross. Cavani pulls off his man and awkwardly connects with his throat but the ball squirms home. They deserved their fortune for the build-up alone.

13th min GREAT PLAY: Cavani is absolutely everywhere and he presses the Portugal defence into submission, throttles the ball away from them and then immediately plays in Suarez who is outnumbered in the box and is forced to settle for a corner.

62nd min GOAL: In a World Cup containing an abundance of stunning strikes, Cavani just adds another with a peach of a first-time finish for his second. Pepe charges out and misses his header, Rodrigo Bentancur profits, it’s three versus four. Cavani drifts wide and Bentancur shifts it to him on the left as he caresses the ball into the opposite corner.

72nd min SUB: This is really unfortunate. Cavani is forced to come off as he clutches his calf. Ronaldo rather sportingly helps him off the pitch and the striker misses out on his hat-trick as he’s replaced by Cristhian Stuani.

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH49-URU-POR

VERDICT

His hold up play was excellent, he dropped deep and made tackles, pressed and bullied then produced the goods in front of goal.

A complete forward’s performance and you’re unlikely to see a better all-round display from a forward in Russia.

RATING: 8/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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