France vs Argentina is one World Cup fixture that will live in memory forever, for the seven-goal thriller at the Kazan Arena was all that it promised and much, much more.
Obviously not if you were an Albiceleste supporter, but for neutrals it was a footballing delight in every sense of the word.
Kylian Mbappe’s superlative performance took your breath away, but there were plenty of outstanding performers from both sides.
Here are The Statesman’s player ratings from the first pre-quarter tie of the 2018 FIFA World Cup:
Could he have done more for Di Maria’s strike?
Perhaps he was unsighted, but the France custodian was beaten all ends up anyhow. Powerless to prevent the second.
Tireless display from the young fullback, who seems to be getting better with every game in Russia.
Pavard’s strike was something special, but credit must be given to Hernandez for applying the assist.
Shackled Messi fairly well, but that’s not saying much as Argentina didn’t look threatening for most parts.
Should have closed down Di Maria better for the equaliser, but apart from that, the Barcelona man took care of Messi and Co.
Mbappe may take the plaudits for the performance of the match and Di Maria for goal of the tie, but Pavard’s strike was no less special.
Got cautioned towards the end, but it was by and large, an extremely assured display from the 22-year-old.
Tireless as usual, shielded his defence . His ability to launch counters at pace is seriously underrated.
Flashes of his quality were visible, but too intermittent for a player of his calibre.
Still, did the job asked of him when his side didn’t have the ball.
Take a bow. Still only 19, but you get what the fuss is all about.
Put in the shade by Mbappe, but a solid display on the whole. Nerveless penalty.
Did the dirty job of blocking Argentina’s right side with minimum fuss.
Still, considering his advanced position, more application in the final third is expected.
France’s leading man for the past three games now, Giroud has to do more if Didier Deschamps’ men are to progress further.
His through ball for Mbappe’s second was inch-perfect.
Replaced the fading Matuidi and did a decent job to see out the game.
Came on with seven minutes left in the tie.
Deschamps used him to see out the clock as he played only a minute of regular time.
Mbappe’s first could have been avoided for sure. Not a very solid showing from the shot-stopper.
Was in the right place to turn home Messi’s shot, but on the whole, the 31-year-old struggled.
Had a stinker and not for the first time. Lucky to remain on the pitch and that’s not a first either.
After his heroics against Nigeria, Rojo was brought crashing down to earth by Mbappe.
Hauled off at half-time and rightly so, otherwise might have been sent in for an early bath before the hour-mark.
Another Argentina defender to have a difficult outing.
Couldn’t quite affect the game as he would have wanted to, but did control the tempo with his smart passing.
Can see why Barcelona offloaded him, is too old to be representing his country at the biggest stage.
Angel Di Maria
Probably the only player to cause France problems, Di Maria was outstanding and deserved to go home with more than just a golazo to his name.
Hardworking display, but where was the end product?
Muted by his stratospheric standards, this is not the way a legend of the game should bow out of the World Cup.
In hindsight, everything is easy to judge, but Pavon definitely shouldn’t have started.
Brought on for Rojo at half-time, not sure if that was the right decision for the former Spurs man was all over the place.
Got the goal he was sent on for, just that it was too late in the tie to make a real difference.