Teenager Kylian Mbappe struck twice inside five second-half minutes to ensure France beat Argentina 4-3 and became the first team to qualify for the World Cup quarterfinals.
Following an exhilarating display between two former champions, France came from behind to defeat Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
And Les Bleus owed their triumph to the 19-year-old Mbappe. Always a threat to Argentina with his speed and power, Mbappe was at the heart of France’s performance.
France took an early lead after Antoine Griezmann broke the deadlock from the penalty spot in the 13th — after Mbappe drew the penalty — with Angel Di Maria levelling the score with a thunder strike just before the interval.
Messi set-up a goal for Gabriel Mercado to give Argentina a 2-1 lead just after halftime but Argentina’s defence cracked to concede three goals in the space of 11 minutes. Defender Benjamin Pavard equalized with his first international goal, Mbappe then scored with a cool finish from a tight angle and netted again in the 68th with some help from Olivier Giroud.
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero pulled one back in the third minute of added time with a header from Messi’s pass.
Mbappe also helped France to its first goal. Following a sustained period of early pressure, he won a penalty after a 40-meter burst of speed that ended with him being brought down by Marcos Rojo. Antoine Griezmann then scored from the spot in the 13th minute, sending Armani the wrong way.
France will next face either Portugal or Uruguay in the quarterfinals on Friday in Nizhny Novgorod.
Argentina briefly took the lead in the 48th minute at Kazan Arena, but France defender Benjamin Pavard equalized nine minutes later with a superb strike from outside the area.
Argentina got its goals from Angel Di Maria, Gabriel Mercado and Sergio Aguero. Messi set up the latter two, first sending a shot on goal that Mercado deflected into the net in the 48th.
With time winding down, the 31-year-old Messi gave Argentina a bit of hope with a cross to the left that Aguero headed into goal in stoppage time.
Di Maria’s goal was one of the best of the tournament.
Following a throw-in, he hit a hard shot from 30 yards that curled into the top right corner, beyond the dive of France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.