It’s the end of the road for Lionel Messi and company as they lost 4-3 to France in a round of 16 tie.
While France drew first blood as early as the 13th minute, Argentina restored parity with a Angel Di Maria goal in the 41st minute. Messi and company looked in full control of the proceedings when Gabriel Mercado struck another one for Argentina to make it 2-1 in the 48th minute.
However, a double strike by France post the hour mark snatched the tie away from the South American side. While Sergio Aguero netted one in the 93rd minute, it was too late in the day for Argentina to make a difference.
Messi, whose international career future will be a burning question now, did set up a late header for Sergio Aguero in extra time, but it was not enough to save Argentina from slipping out of this year’s tournament.
In another big clash, Uruguay forward Edison Cavani scored a goal in each half to help his team brush aside Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal 2-1 in their round of 16 encounter at the FIFA World Cup at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
Right from the beginning of the match, both teams played attacking football and tried hard to gain an early advantage.
In the 5th minute, Ronaldo almost gave Portugal their first goal, when he played a beautiful straight shot, just a few yards away from the penalty box, only to be saved by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.
In the 7th minute, Cavani drew first blood for Uruguay by scoring a perfect header assisted by striker Luis Suarez to give his team an early lead. During the second half, both teams again took centre stage, pushing hard to score more goals and dominate the game.
Portugal’s goal drought finally came to an end when defender Pepe delivered a perfect header into the net to equalise. It was Pepe’s sixth goal for the national side, giving relief to the team management and the fans.
However, the relief was short-lived as in the 62nd minute, Cavani once again came into the picture to beautifully curl a shot past the penalty box, outwitting Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio to put Uruguay in a dominating position.
Thereafter, Portugal tried extremely hard to score another equaliser to keep themselves in contention for the quarterfinals. However, their hopes of scoring a second goal kept fading as every minute ticked, coupled with a strong Uruguayan defence. In the end it was a crucial win for Uruguay who look good to go all the way this world cup.
With this victory, Uruguay earned a unique distinction of winning four matches in a row in the World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 1930. Uruguay will now lock horns with France at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on July 6.