Mbappe stars for France as they sweep aside Argentina in thriller

Joe Williams

Kylian Mbappe scored two second-half goals to help France defeat Argentina 4-3 and move into the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Antoine Griezmann fired France into an early lead from the penalty spot in Kazan.

Griezmann calmly slotted home in the 12th minute after Marcos Rojo was punished for a clumsy challenge on Mbappe, who had won possession in his own half and went on a blistering run into the Argentina box.

France had looked brighter in the opening stages with Griezmann previously coming close when he dipped a free-kick against the bar.

Angel Di Maria brought Argentina level with a stunning 30-yard strike shortly before the break.

The former Manchester United man had laboured through a torrid first period in which Didier Deschamps’ men were wholly dominant.

But Di Maria lit up the game in the 41st minute when he looked up and unleashed a left-foot shot into the top corner of the net.

Di Maria’s equaliser breathed new life into Argentina and they will have been more than happy to go in at half-time tied at 1-1.

The shift in momentum was complete just three minutes into the second half as Argentina went in front.

Di Maria’s persistence won a free-kick on the left side of the box and the subsequent half-clearance fell to Messi, whose low shot was deflected into the net off team-mate Gabriel Mercado.

France drew level in stunning fashion in the 57th minute through defender Benjamin Pavard.

Lucas Hernandez swung a deep cross from the left which eluded everybody on the edge of the box and fell to Pavard, who let fly with a right-foot shot which beat Franco Armani.

And France restored their advantage six minutes later when Mbappe grabbed the goal his energetic performance deserved.

Once again a Hernandez cross from the left caused problems in the Argentina box and broke nicely for the teenager.

Mbappe took one touch then hit a low shot which wriggled under Armani and into the back of the net.

Mbappe grabbed his second of the game in the 68th minute to move France closer to the quarter-finals.

Finishing a move which began with goalkeeper Lloris, Mbappe was fed by Olivier Giroud on the right side of the box and coolly slotted his side’s fourth goal past the helpless Armani.

The drama continued into stoppage time as substitute Aguero reduced the deficit with a low header past Lloris from a Messi cross to make it 4-3.

Argentina pushed forward looking for an improbable equaliser in the final seconds but the referee’s whistle sealed a sensational 4-3 win for France.