Angel Di Maria's goal of the tournament didn't last long. The goal of the tournament now belongs to Benjamin Pavard.
For 40 minutes on Saturday, France tore up Argentina in their Round of 16 clash at the 2018 World Cup. Over and over again, Kylian Mbappe broke free against a slower Argentinian backline and as a result, France held a 1-0 lead as halftime approached. But with one incredible strike, Di Maria rendered France's dominance during the first 40 minutes completely useless.
In the 41st minute, Di Maria leveled the score with one of the best goals of the tournament, a left-footed screamer from 30 yards away that headed toward the top corner like a heat-seeking missile.
Take a look:
The stat that matters:
Despite getting outplayed, Argentina entered the midpoint deadlocked with France thanks to Di Maria's moment of brilliance. And then on the other side of halftime, Argentina took a 2-1 lead when Gabriel Mercado redirected Lionel Messi's shot into the goal. And just like that, Argentina was 40 or so minutes away from advancing to the quarterfinals against the winner of Uruguay-Portugal.
Just like Di Maria before him, Benjamin Pavard rendered a lead useless with a mesmerizing goal. Pavard's goal didn't come from as far out as Di Maria's, but the technique and resulting spin on the ball one-upped Di Maria's goal as the best of the tournament. In the 57th minute, Pavard hammered a bouncing ball at the top of the box with the outside of his foot into the far post.
Watch until the end, because the final replay that shows the spin is insane:
And then, with the score knotted up at 2-2, the floodgates opened. Argentina surrendered two mored goals and suddenly, it's France who holds a two-goal advantage. Mbappe (who else?) put away both goals in a span of four minutes. In the end, his dominance over Argentina's backline did matter.
Mbappé puts France ahead!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 30, 2018
He collects the loose ball in the box and fires it home to make it 3-2 for Les Bleus. pic.twitter.com/gCdhCD5C0e
Mbappé AGAIN!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 30, 2018
The 19-year-old gets his second of the game to put France up 4-2. pic.twitter.com/1mY2fN2MBc
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