The 2018 World Cup is shaping up to be one of the finest we’ve ever seen, with two terrific matches opening the round of 16: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo go home, as France beat Argentina in a thrilling 4-3 match starring Kylian Mbappe, and Uruguay unleash Luis Suarez and Cavani on Portugal in a 2-1 win.
France 4 Argentina 3 (Match Highlights)
A classic that will be talked about for years. Because it is possibly Lionel Messi’s last World Cup match. Because of Kylian Mbappe’s breakout match, at least on international level, including two goals and setting up the penalty kick Antoine Griezmann converted. Because of Benjamin Pavard’s equalizer. Because of the 20 minute sequence in the second half, in which Gabriel Mercado managed to put Argentina surprisingly ahead, followed by Pavard (once) and Mbappe (twice) unleashing France’s full potential, sending them through to the quarterfinals.
Uruguay 2 Portugal 1 (Match Highlights)
Uruguay played efficient football and it paid off, although it felt that whenever Luis Suarez felt like turning it on, even when Edinson Cavani was off the pitch, he could take on the Portugal defense and win. Well, he did, setting up two fantastic finishes by Cavani. The opener came in the 7th minute in the form of a terrific header. Pepe headed in the equalizer in the 55th minute after almost an hour of wasteful crossing by Portugal. 7 minutes later Cavani showed elegance and class with a perfect one-touch goal from outside the box to put Uruguay in front for good. Cristiano Ronaldo? He’ll be remembered for once again not scoring in the knockout stage (just like Messi), for escorting Cavani off the pitch, and for yelling at the referee and getting booked. Nothing to write home about.
Up next: Uruguay vs France, July 6, Nizhny Novgorod (Quarter Final)
Goal of the Day – Benjamin Pavard, France
5 goals: Harry Kane (England)
4 goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
3 goals: Denis Cheryshev (Russia), Diego Costa (Spain), Kylian Mbappe (France), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)
2 goals: Artem Dzyuba (Russia), Mile Jedinak (Australia), Luka Modric (Croatia), Philippe Coutinho (Brazil), Ahmed Musa (Nigeria), Eden Hazard (Belgium), John Stones (England), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Son Heung-Min (South Korea), Andreas Granqvist (Sweden), Yerry Mina (Colombia), Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia), Antoine Griezmann (France), Sergio Aguero (Argentina)
1 goal: Yuri Gazinsky, Aleksandr Golovin (Russia), Jose Maria Gimenez (Uruguay), Nacho, Isco, Iago Aspas (Spain), Paul Pogba, Benjamin Pavard (France), Lionel Messi, Marcos Rojo, Angel di Maria, Gabriel Mercado (Argentina), Alfred Finnbogason (Iceland), Christian Eriksen,Yussuf Poulsen (Denmark), Aleksandar Kolarov, Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia), Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela, Chicharito (México), Neymar, Paulinho, Thiago Silva (Brazil), Steven Zuber, Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Blerim Dzemaili, Josip Drmic (Switzerland), Ola Toivonen, Ludwig Augustinsson (Sweden), Dries Mertens, Michy Batshuayi, Adnan Januzaj (Belgium), Ferjani Sassi, Dylan Bronn, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef(Tunisia), Shinji Kagawa, Yuya Osaka, Takashi Inui, Keisuke Honda (Japan), Juan Quintero, Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado (Colombia), M’Baye Niang, Sadio Mane, Moussa Wague (Senegal), Grzegorz Krychowiak, Jan Bednarek (Poland), Ante Rebic, Ivan Rakitic (Croatia), Kim Young-Gwon (South Korea), Marco Reus (Germany), Jesse Lingard (England), Felipe Baloy (Panama), Salman Al Faraj, Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia), Ricardo Quaresma, Pepe (Portugal), Khalid Boutaib, Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco), Karim Ansarifard (Irán), Andre Carrillo, Paolo Guerrero (Peru), Victor Moses (Nigeria), Kendall Watson (Costa Rica)
Spain (1st in Group B) vs Russia (2nd in Group A)
Croatia (1st in Group D) vs Denmark (2nd in Group C)