Hello and welcome to the live updates of Round of 16 tie of Fifa World Cup 2018 between France and Argentina from Kazan here. Who do you think will win today?
France are the first quarter-finalists!
Didier Deschamps' tactics were questioned as France weren't able to produce what was expected of them in the round robin stages despite topping Group C.
However, the Les Blues proved why they are being regarded as one of the tournament favourites with an electric performance against Argentina. The scoreline — 4-3 — doesn't reflect the exact story as Argentina were lacklustre in most parts of the match.
Kylian Mbappe, the wonder kid from Paris Saint-Germain, troubled Argentina early on with his raw pace, winning a couple of free-kicks and the penalty, which Antoine Greizmann converted to give them the early lead.
Argentina hit back through an Angel di Maria stunner as both the teams went into the break with nothing to separate between them.
The Abliceleste began on the right note when Mercado deflected a Lionel Messi shot into the French net.
However, France didn't lose hope but only came back strong, really strong to get three goals in 11 minutes even the Argentine midfield and defence seemed non-existent. Pavard started it all with a blinder from outside the box and Mbappe sealed for Didier Deschamps' men with a double.
A late goal from Sergio Aguero couldn't help change the result. Should Jorge Sampaoli be held responsible for holding back the Manchester City forward and Gonzalo Higuain?
Meanwhile, France have certainly laid down a marker here.
At the other end, it's game over for Argentina. Will Lionel Messi call it quits from international football? He was below-par once again today.
Full-time: FRA 4-3 ARG
France go through to the quarter-final.
Despite a late goal from Sergio Aguero, the Les Blues hold on to the lead and break Argentine hearts.
What a classic we have had in Kazan. Kylian Mbappe, the 19-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward, is the star of the match.
90 min: Four minutes of added time
Four minutes has been added on in Kazan. Argentina are looking down and out though.
89 min: France make their final change
Man of the moment, Kylian Mbappe comes off to a rousing reception from the French fans at Kazan Stadium. He is being replaced by Thauvin. What a night the teenager has had. He seems to have ended Messi's hopes, broken millions of hearts across the globe.
86 min: Messi nearly pulls one back
The onus is on Messi now. He gets space inside the box but he was falling when he took a weak shot. Too easy for Lloris.
Minutes later, he puts a wonderful ball in for Sergio Aguero, whose shot is deflected for a throw by Varane, who has been brilliant on the big day.
83 min: France make another change
Fekir comes in to replace Griezmann, the goal-scorer. Argentina are trying hard to pull one back. But the time is running out here.
75 min: Both teams make a change here
France replace Matuidi with Tolisso after the Juventus midfielder was booked. Argentina have brought on Meza, replacing Pavon.
What a response this has been from France. They conceded an early goal in the second half but have bounced back to put Argentina's hopes to bed. What a player, Mbappe is proving to be. His pace has troubled the Albiceleste throughout the match.
68 min: Goal! Mbappe scores again!
France are running riot here. They have scored three goals after going down 2-1 in just 11 minutes.
This was remarkable move from France, who found plenty of space between the Argentine midfielders. Giroud put a perfect pass to Mbappe who was running down the right. The Paris-Saint Germain striker slots it into the far post with his right foot.
Is it over for Argentina? Their defence is in shambles now.
64 min: Goal! France's wonder kid puts them ahead.
Another twist in this see-saw battle. Kylian Mbappe puts France ahead.
Argentina had a few nervous moments due to their shoddy defending and it has costed them not once but twice in seven minutes.
Matuidi's shot is deflected and falls in front of Mbappe, who makes some space for himself before firing one past Armani.
Meanwhile, Aguero has replaced Perez.
57 min: Goal! Pavard hits a stunner!
Another stunner in Kazan. Right-back Pavard emerges as the unlikely hero for France.
Matuidi who ran down the left flank sent a cross inside but found no one at the end of it. An incoming Pavard fired into the top corner with a bullet from his right foot. Now, it's all level in Kazan.
Who will have the nerves and the energy to go ahead again?
55 min: Argentina nearly hit the self-destruct button
Substitute Fazio almost gifts France the equaliser. He back passes a ball past goalkeeper Armani with Griezmann breathing down his neck. The Atletico Madrid striker nearly put one inside.
53 min: France get a free-kick
The Les Blues haven't gotten bogged down by the early goal in the half. After Kante is brought down outside the box, Mbappe takes the free-kick but nothing comes off it.
48 min: Argentina score again!
Mercado scores for Argentina. What a turnaround this for the Albiceleste.
Ever Banega took a free-kick from the left of the box and the ball was cleared by Paul Pogba.
Messi curled one in from inside the box after getting control of a deflected ball. It takes the deflection, a slight one from Mercado's foot to roll into the nets. Delight for the Argentines!
Notably, Argentina had replaced Marcos Rojo with Roma's Federico Fazio at the half-time. The Manchester United defender had picked up a yellow card it's a good move from Sampaoli.
Half-time: ARG 1-1 FRA
That's the end of the first-half. What a riveting contest of football this has been.
Antoine Griezmann scored from the spot to put France ahead early in the match. Kylian Mbappe's pace was causing the Argentine backline a lot of problems. They created quite a few opportunities without having a lot of possession.
However, against the run of play, Angel di Maria's wonder strike got Argentina back on level terms with France. That strike is certainly going to be a contender for the goal of the tournament.
Messi has so far been kept quiet but Argentina found some momentum and troubled France towards the end of the first-half.
We are set for an enthralling last 45 minutes here. Don't go anywhere.
First-half stats below.
Key stats:— FIFA World Cup ? (@FIFAWorldCup) June 30, 2018
? #FRA have won each of their last six #WorldCup knockout matches in which they scored the opener
? Ángel Di María scores his second World Cup goal, after netting in the 118th minute in #ARG 1-0 win against #SUI#FRAARG pic.twitter.com/w1yG6pBSze
43 min: Mascherano gets into the referee's books
Another harsh challenge from Mascherano. This time he doesn't escape as he gets booked. The former Liverpool and Barcelona midfielder will miss the quarter-final if the Albiceleste make it through here.
41 min: Goal! Argentina equalise
Against the run of play, Angel di Maria puts Argentina level with France.
He receives a pass from the left and from the outside the box fires one into the top corner. Lloris had no chance to save that stunner. What a strike!
Diego Maradona, who is once again in the stands, celebrates.
35 min: It's still 1-0 in Kazan
Otamendi and Griourd have a nasty clash inside the Argentine box. Both players are down but fortunately nothing serious.
Argentina have had the most of the possession but France have made dangerous forays into the attacking third. This game is getting heated up as well. Some hard challenges are being made.
25 min: Griezmann is in the mood
Antoine Griezmann made a threatening run down the right flank before cutting into the box and trying to find an incoming Matuidi. However, the ball went straight into the hands of Armani.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has been kept quiet so far.
19 min: Mbappe is brought down again, free-kick for France
Scenes at Kazan. Argentina are struggling to deal with Mbappe's pace here. He is brought down just outside the box this time. So close to being another penalty. This is pathetic from the Albiceleste.
Pogba takes the free-kick from just outside the box but he is unable to trouble the goalkeeper.
France make the early impact in Kazan
After a nervous start, France have found a way to trouble the Argentine defence. Kylian Mbappe's searing pace is troubling the Argentine defence. He won them a free-kick and then a penalty which was converted.
13 min: Goal! France are ahead in Kazan!
Mbappe run doing the damage again. Antoine Griezmann converts from the sport. Makes no mistake as he sends the Argentine goalkeeper the wrong side. French fans in Kazan are buzzing.
It's France 1-0 Argentina.
Manchester United's Marco Rojo was the hero for the Albiceleste the other night. Today, he is the villain. Will Argentina pay for his mistake today?
10 min: Mbappe brought down inside the box, penalty for France
Kylian Mbappe is troubling Argentina with his pace here. He runs 70 metres at full pace before being brought down by Marcos Rojo inside the box. The referee had no hesitation to award a penalty for the Deschamps' men.
8 min: France get a free-kick in a dangerous position
France get a free-kick from 25 yards out. Javier Mascherano brought down Kylian Mbappe who was looking to run past defenders down the center.
Griezmann takes it and nearly put France ahead. His shot hits the crossbar and it ratltles.
3 min: Nervous start from both the teams
Both teams are failing to take early control here. There are some misplaced passes and balls are being lost in the middle of the pitch.
1 min: France get the ball rolling
The Les Blues get the game underway in Kazan. Fifa president Gianni Infantino is at the stands.
Packed Kazan stadium awaits the two teams
It's nearly time for the national anthems. What a match we have got to kickstart the knockout stages.
Both the teams are at the tunnel, waiting to enter the turf. Tense faces all around.
Stat attack: Messi looking to end knockout goal drought!
Lionel Messi has reportedly played 666 minutes of knockout stage football at World Cups without scoring a goal. Can he end the drought today? He needs to as Jorge Sampaoli's men would want their captain to step up and deliver.
Here's are the confirmed line-ups for the big tie
Argentina have not started both Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero while Angel di Mair return and Cristian Pavon starts on the right.
Argentina playing XI: Armani; Tagliafico, Rojo, Otamendi, Mercado; Banega, Mascherano, Perez; Pavon, Messi, Di Maria.
Meanwhile, France have gone in with 4-2-3-1. Didier Deschamps has made quite a few changes, six from the team that played Denmark in their final group game.
France playing XI: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez; Mbappe, Kante, Griezmann, Pogba, Matudi; Girourd.
Can the pre-tournament favourites step up?
France were considered pre-tournament favourites but their performances, despite topping Group C, haven't inspired confidence.
Didier Deschamps' men had a trouble-free passage to the knockout stage of the tournament as they sealed seven points from three games to finish comfortably ahead of group runners-up Denmark. However, lack of goals has been a cause for concern for the Euro 2016 finalists.
Despite possessing one of the most fearsome frontline, consisting the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, and Olivier Giroud, the Les Blues scored only three goals, out of which one was from the spot and another an own goal, in the round robin stage.
Can Messi deliver for Argentina?
Argentina will be hoping to put behind the tumultuous group stage campaign and raise their standards against a quality opposition.
The Albiceleste camp was in turmoil after their crushing 3-0 defeat to Croatia in the group stage but they found an unlikely hero in Marcos Rojo who scored a late winner against Nigeria on Tuesday, June 26 to help them seal a spot in the knockout stages.
Speculations were rife that Jorge Sampaoli had lost the dressing room after the humbling against Luka Modric's men but Argentina managed to scrape through and live to fight another day.
All eyes will be on Lionel Messi after the Barcelona superstar opened his World Cup 2018 account against Nigeria. After having a poor start to the campaign — a missed penalty in their 1-1 draw against Iceland, the celebrated footballer came under a lot of criticism.