We take our series on the 2018 FIFA World Cup a notch higher at KhelAcademy. Today, we will be naming our pick for the best match of the Russian summer and give some of the reasons why we think it trumps the rest. By no means does this take away from the other thrilling encounters in the month-long festival of football, but the Round of 16 meeting between footballing powerhouses, Argentina and France, takes our prize. Before we talk about the 7-goal thriller, let’s take a look at a couple of matches that finished a close second in our books.
When you talk about the best matches of any competition, a tie, including Cristiano Ronaldo, will never be far behind. Such was the case in this encounter between Spain and Portugal, who shared a 6-goal extravaganza. The match ended even stevens at 3-3 – with a magnificent hat-trick by Ronaldo.
Another fixture that gave our winner a hard fight was the Round of 16 clash between world-beaters, Belgium, and minnows at the world stage, Japan. The match had entirely begun against the tide, with Japan taking a 2-0 lead at the 70th-minute mark. The Red Devils – pushed against the wall – fought back like a wounded tiger a sealed a 3-2 win in the last minute of added time, breaking Japanese hearts.
Now that we have gotten our courteous mentions out of the way. Let’s talk about our Numero Uno. Oh! What a spectacle it was at the magnificent Kazan Arena – a second-round match worthy of a semis tie – at least. France came into this match as the favorites, but you can never ever EVER write off a team with a certain Lionel Messi in their ranks.
France established its authority over the South Americans very early on in the game through an Antoine Griezmann penalty. Messi strung up passes and got the play moving for The Whites and Sky Blues. They came right back at the French with back-to-back goals, including a screamer from PSG forward, Angel Di Maria.
The game perfectly poised at 2-1- end-to-end attacks from both sides, Les Bleus’ defender, Benjamin Pavard – probably one of the least expected to score, with the talent on display – scored an absolute peach of a goal. Argued by many as THE goal of the World Cup, the right-back’s strike deflated the Argentine.
Teenage sensation and arguably, future Ballon D’Or winner, Kylian Mbappe, scored France’s third. Another lethal strike from the PSG striker registered their fourth of the night to add insult to injury. Aguero’s strike came too little too late, as the match ended 4-3, sending Argentina home and France – on course to win the World Cup.