Benjamin Pavard celebrates scoring one of the goals of the tournament as France beat Argentina 4-3.
France roared back against Argentina to reach the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday as Kylian Mbappe sent Lionel Messi home empty-handed following a seven-goal thriller.
Antoine Griezmann gave France the lead from the penalty spot but the South Americans levelled through a sweet hit from Angel Di Maria and edged ahead shortly after half-time through Gabriel Mercado.
But defender Benjamin Pavard equalised with a thunderous strike to pull France level before Mbappe netted two goals in four second-half minutes to become the first teenager to score at least twice in a World Cup match since Pele in 1958.
On the same day Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal were dumped out of the tournament thanks to an inspired display from Edison Cavani. Uruguay booked their place in the World Cup quarter-finals with an excellent 2-1 win.
Not that anyone believed Cavani isn’t a star player in his own right, but when Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo were given top billing for this game, it wasn’t the least bit controversial, even though there are plenty who think Cavani has surpassed Suarez as his country’s top player.
No matter. On Saturday, Cavani wasn’t just his team’s leading light, he was the best player on the pitch.
His two goals showcased just how well-rounded he is as a striker. He released Suarez with a wonderful cross-field pass and then finished off a brilliant long-range one-two with a run into the box to put a superb header past Rui Patricio, and then he produced a beautiful curling finish to round off a sweeping Uruguay counter-attack for what turned out to be the winning goal.
Being the outstanding player in a World Cup knockout game is a surefire way to stamp yourself into footballing memory. Just ask Cavani – he and Uruguay were on the receiving end at the last tournament when James Rodriguez scored twice as Colombia knocked them out.
Cavani probably won’t be following in James’ footsteps with a big-money move to Real Madrid because of Saturday’s showing. He’ll have to be satisfied with playing in the World Cup quarter-finals.
With the group stages complete we’re getting down to the business end of the World Cup. The tournament in Russia has thrown up some shocks already at the mid-way point in the competition and there’s plenty more where that come from as we look at the best Hublot Moments from each day of the knockout phase.
Saturday 30th June
France 4 – 3 Argentina
Uruguary 2 – 1 Portugal
Sunday 1st July
Spain 1 – 1 Russia (Russia win 4-3 on penalties)
Croatia 1 – 1 Denmark (Croatia win 3 – 2 on penalties)
Monday 2nd July
Brazil 2 – 0 Mexico
Belgium 3 – 2 Japan
Tuesday 3rd July
Colombia 1 – 1 England (England win 4 – 3 penalties)
Sweden 1 – 0 Switzerland
Friday 6th July
Uruguay 0 – 2 France
Brazil 1 – 2 Belgium
Saturday 7th July
Sweden 0 – 2 England
Russia 2 – 2 Croatia (Croatia win 4 – 3 on penalties)
Tuesday 10th July
France 1 – 0 Belgium
Wednesday 11th July
Croatia 2 – 1 England
Saturday 14th July
Belgium 2 – 0 England
Sunday 15th July
France 4 – 2 Croatia
Good morning, Denzil Pinto here with everything you need to know in the world of sport.
The anticipation is building and the clock is ticking as the World Cup enters the knockout stages. This evening’s last-16 games are a football treat as Paul Pogba and his France team-mates take on Lionel Messi’s Argentina (18:00 UAE time). Read the main talking points from the game here, as well as the key battles.
Later in the evening, Luis Suarez meets Cristiano Ronaldo on the international stage when Uruguay face Portugal (22:00 UAE time). We look at the burning issues and key areas where the game can be won and lost.
Away from Russia, Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet will make his decision over his future after the World Cup. The 30-year-old is part of Belgium’s squad and hasn’t played for the Reds since January.
In Italy, Serie A champions Juventus received a big boost when defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli agreed to contract extensions. Chiellini, 33, has signed a deal until 2020, while Barzagli, 37, will remain at Allianz Stadium until next summer at least.
In international cricket, India recorded an easy win against the Irish after thrashing them by 143 runs to seal the T20I series in Dublin on Friday.
FEATURE OF THE DAY
Our man Stuart Appleby gives his verdict on the remaining 16 nations based on their campaign at the World Cup. Read here to see where he ranks your favourite team.
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
World Cup last 16: France v Argentina, 18:00
Uruguay v Portugal, 22:00
Formula One: Austrian Qualifying, 17:10