Kylian Mbappe double sees France past Argentina in 4-3 thriller

France's forward Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring their fourth goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between France and Argentina. (AFP/FRANCK FIFE)
Updated 30 June 2018
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Kylian Mbappe double sees France past Argentina in 4-3 thriller

  • 9-year-old forward’s electric pace caused Argentina problems all afternoon
  • Mbappe is first teenager since Brazilian great Pele in the 1958 final to score two goals in one World Cup match

KAZAN: Teenager Kylian Mbappe scored two goals in four minutes to send France charging into the World Cup quarter-finals and Lionel Messi home with a thrilling 4-3 win over Argentina on Saturday.
The 19-year-old forward’s electric pace caused Argentina problems all afternoon and his twin strikes helped France overturn a 2-1 deficit and set up a quarter-final date with Portugal or Uruguay, who play later on Saturday.
While Mbappe was the most influential player on the pitch, Argentina’s Angel Di Maria and France full back Benjamin Pavard fought out a private contest for the best goal of the contest with two magnificent long-range strikes.
Di Maria’s goal canceled out Antoine Griezmann’s early penalty to put Argentina on equal terms just before the break, while Pavard’s in the 57th minute levelled up the scores at 2-2 after Argentina had gone ahead through Gabriel Mercado.
Mbappe, the first teenager since Brazilian great Pele in the 1958 final to score two goals in one World Cup match, then took over to send Argentina slumping out of the finals before the quarter-final round for the first time since 2002.
Twice champions Argentina got a consolation through substitute striker Sergio Aguero in added time but they simply could not cope with Mbappe’s pace from his first surge toward the box after nine minutes.
Javier Mascherano brought him down and Griezmann crashed the subsequent free kick off the bar from 25 meters but France only had to wait a couple of minutes to break the deadlock.
Mbappe set off on another driving run from well inside his own half and Marcos Rojo, well beaten for pace, bundled him to the floor inside the area.
Griezmann’s strike from the spot was not as clean as his free kick but goalkeeper Franco Armani went the wrong way.

EARLY ONSLAUGHT
France looked like doubling their lead after 19 minutes when Mbappe set off to chase a Paul Pogba ball and Nicolas Tagliafico hauled him down.
The referee decided it was a free kick on the edge of the box, however, and even if Pogba blasted high over the bar, Argentina looked shell-shocked at Mbappe’s early onslaught.
Four minutes before the break, though, they were level, Di Maria received a pass from the left, took one touch to tee up the ball and hit the sweetest shot into the top-left corner of the net from 40 meters.
Three minutes into the second half and they were ahead, Messi curling a shot hopefully toward Hugo Lloris in the France goal and right back Mercado reacting instinctively to deflect the ball into the net.
The Argentina fans were now in full voice but their joy did not last long before France restored parity after 57 minutes, Pavard pouncing on an over-cooked cross some 20 meters out and lashing it on the half-volley into the net.
Mbappe’s first goal came seven minutes later when he snared a loose ball, taking one touch to race past his marker and lashing it home with his left foot through Armani’s dive.
His second came after 68 minutes at the end of a beautifully flowing French move with Olivier Giroud providing the subtlest of touches to lay the ball into Mbappe’s path and the teenager finishing right-footed with some elan.
Argentina continued to fight over the last 20 minutes but Aguero’s header from Messi’s cross in stoppage time was too little, too late.


New Zealand’s Crusaders lose for the first time since mosque shootings

Updated 24 March 2019
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New Zealand’s Crusaders lose for the first time since mosque shootings

  • The Christchurch-based Crusaders saw their year-long, 19-game winning streak ended in Sydney by the New South Wales Waratahs
  • The Crusaders have been asked by fans to change their name following last week's terror mosques attack that killed at least 50 worshippers

PRETORIA, South Africa: The Crusaders lost for the first time this season and the Chiefs won for the first time, shaking up Super Rugby at the top and the bottom of the standings on Saturday.
In their first game since the mosque shootings in their home city eight days earlier, the Christchurch-based Crusaders saw their year-long, 19-game winning streak ended in Sydney by the New South Wales Waratahs.
Wallabies fullback Israel Folau sealed the Waratahs’ 20-12 win and equaled Doug Howlett’s record of 59 Super Rugby tries when he followed up on a high kick and reacted quickest to score the home team’s third try in the 73rd minute. The Waratahs led 15-7 for most of the second half before Folau ensured there was no way back for the Crusaders.
The two-time defending champions’ first loss in a year was followed by another serious surprise in round six when the Hamilton-based Chiefs, winless and bottom of the overall standings, upset the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
The Chiefs didn’t just win. They hammered the Bulls 56-20 and seven tries to two. There were doubles by winger Solomon Alaimalo, center Alex Nankivell, and captain Brodie Retallick as the Chiefs, who once lost a Super Rugby final 61-17 at Loftus, produced a spectacular turnaround in form.
The Crusaders’ loss meant the Hurricanes drew level with them on points at the top of the New Zealand conference. The Lions, the losing finalists the last three years, moved a point behind the Crusaders in the overall standings after beating the Sunwolves in Singapore.
The Sunwolves were on the board first in that game through a penalty try which saw Lions wing Sylvian Mahuza yellow-carded for a deliberate knock down.
The Lions were inspired by hooker Malcolm Marx, who scored two tries and came up with numerous crucial turnovers in the 37-24 win. That capped a miserable couple of days for the Tokyo-based Sunwolves, who learned on Friday they would be cut from Super Rugby at the end of next season.
Also, the Hurricanes beat the Stormers 34-28, and the Sharks beat Melbourne Rebels 28-14 to both gain ground.
The Waratahs made a fast start against the Crusaders, scoring tries through lock Jeb Holloway and wing Cameron Clark to lead 12-0 after as many minutes. They then kept steady defensive pressure on the Crusaders who made an uncharacteristic 18 handling errors.
The Waratahs were able to pin the Crusaders within their half and those errors cost the champions their usual continuity.
“Looking up at the board I see we had 46 percent of possession so we’re building wins off defense,” Waratahs captain Michael Hooper said. “I’m really happy that we were able to get tries when we can and then were able to build a big wall to stop these guys.”
The Crusaders were playing their first game in two weeks after last weekend’s scheduled fixture against the Highlanders was canceled in the wake of the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch which left 50 dead. On Saturday at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Crusaders and Waratahs players stood together silently before the game, arm in arm, to remember the victims.
Winger Wes Goosen scored two second-half tries and Beauden Barrett contributed 14 points as the Hurricanes rallied to beat the Stormers 34-28.
The match presented a stark contrast in styles between the Hurricanes, who lacked a reliable set-piece and tried to play the game at pace, and the Stormers, who sought to slow play and control possession through a powerful forward pack.
The Hurricanes finally emerged on top, snatching the lead with a try to Barrett 10 minutes from fulltime and outscoring the Stormers by five tries to three. The lead changed hands five times in a close match in which neither side managed to exert complete control.
“From the outcome point of view it was good, we were certainly after that win,” Barrett said. “But there were moments there where we were frustrated.”