Kylian Lottin Mbappe’s scored a brace to guide France to a 4-3 victory over Argentina in a pulsating World Cup game played in Kazan.
In what is the match of tournament thus far, Didier Deschamps’ 1998 champions fought back from 2-1 down to book a slot in the quarter finals where they await the winner of the game between Portugal and Uruguay.
Paris Saint Germain striker Mbappe illuminated the match with his electric turn of pace and sharp dribbling.
Antoine Griezman had already rattled the woodwork when he converted Les Bleus’ opening goal following a lung bursting run into Argentina’s penalty box by the irrepressible Mbappe.
Jorge Sampaoli’s Pumas dominated possession without gaining visible fraction until a minute to the breather when Angel di Maria’s swerving long range drive gave French keeper and captain Hugo Lloris no chance to ensure the two side are locked at 1-1.
The Pumas, world champions in 1978 and 1986, took the lead just two minutes into the second half when defender Garbiel Mercado deflected Lionel Messi’s speculative shot into back of the net.
France reacted to falling behind by turning on the after burners.
First, Stuttgart right back Benjamin Pavard, who is keeping experienced Monaco rival Djibril Sidibe out of the starting line up, netted a powerful, spinning shot from outside the box.
Not long after Mbappe put France 3-2 ahead after wriggling past a couple of defenders to power an unstoppable left foot drive under Pumas keeper Francis Armani.
Man of the match Mbappe then became the first teenager to score two goals in a World Cup match since Edson Arantes dos Nascimento ‘Pele’ in 1958. France were cruising.
But three substitutions that brought on Corentin Colliso, Nabil Fekir and Florian Thauvin for Mbappe, Griezman and Blaise Matuildi handed back the initiative to Argentina who scored a consolation goal through Sergio Aguero.
France now await the winner between Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal and Urugauy at the quarter final stage.